LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 5, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Cody Gakpo “convinced” striker role “suits me” after Liverpool move

Cody Gakpo has relished his opportunity to lead the line for Liverpool since his January arrival, insisting that the role “suits” his attributes.

The Dutchman was one of the leading lights in the Reds’ late revival towards the end of the season, notching seven goals from the centre-forward position following his £37 million move from PSV.

Gakpo’s signing came shortly after the forward impressed with the Netherlands during their run to the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking ahead of his side’s Nations League semi-final clash with Croatia, Gakpo revealed he is “convinced” that being the focal point of an attack is good for his game and that other managers had tried to move him there in the past.

“Now that I’m playing at Liverpool I think it’s a nice position,” Gakpo explained to reporters as he previewed Wednesday night’s showdown with his country.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 6, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I have become convinced that being a striker suits me.

“Guus Hiddink was the first. He spent a while at PSV as a sounding board, saw me play and said: ‘You have to become a striker or a false No. 9’. I didn’t want to believe it then.

“And then when Roger Schmidt said the same thing later at PSV when he was coach, I was even more stubborn. It felt good on the left flank.

“But at the last World Cup I was already more central on the field and at Liverpool permanently in the past six months. It’s been good. I’m excited now to get better in the position in the near future, for the club as well as the national team.”

Liverpool’s No. 18 suffered a slow start to life at Anfield as he adjusted to a new league and position with the Reds struggling for form.

Gakpo admitted that he found it “difficult” to settle in at his new club, with circumstances making it tricky early on.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 13, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 242nd Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The striker explained: “It was a difficult period when I first arrived. [Jurgen Klopp] said what he wanted from me. In the beginning, of course, it took some getting used to, but I’ve enjoyed playing in that position in recent months.”

Gakpo has since gone on to make a big impact for the Reds, becoming a key component in the side as they racked up seven straight wins towards the end of the season.

A well-taken brace in the memorable 7-0 thrashing of Man United was an obvious standout moment, and the forward will be hoping there is plenty more to come in his first full season at the club.