SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo shakes hands with manager Jürgen Klopp after being substituted during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp insists midfield role “suits” Cody Gakpo with versatility key

Jurgen Klopp has talked about the importance of positional versatility from his players in light of Cody Gakpo being used in midfield on the opening day.

Luis Diaz fired the Reds into an early first-half lead against Chelsea after an exquisite move, before Mohamed Salah was denied a second goal when VAR deemed the Egyptian to be fractionally offside.

Axel Disasi levelled the scoring for the hosts shortly before the break and Liverpool were required to withstand some late pressure in order to earn themselves a point.

Gakpo once again featured in the midfield, as was the case throughout much of the summer, with Klopp stressing in his post-match press conference that players are not fixed to one particular position on the pitch.

“Oh he is [used to the midfield role], he played that pretty much the whole pre-season,” explained the boss in reference to Gakpo’s position.

“When we decided that everybody can get their own number on their back, then a two was not a two anymore and a six wasn’t a six anymore.

“I think modern football is like that, that players can play different positions.”

The manager remains short on options in the middle of the park as Liverpool continue their search for a defensive midfield signing.

It has left Gakpo needing to help out in the No. 8 role while the likes of Alexis Mac Allister and Curtis Jones have filled in in the deeper position.

Klopp added that he believes Gakpo possesses all of the tools to operate as a midfielder, while simultaneously admitting that work needs to be done to eradicate various issues.

“The role suits him, definitely. He is super important for us,” Klopp continued.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 13, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I think today you could see, first game of the season, a lot of spaces to cover, gaps to close.

“That was actually our problem in the game, that we tried to close the gaps by dropping instead of by stepping in.

“It is the first game, not the last, so we have a lot of things to improve, no doubt about that. But I saw already a good basis.”