Revealed: What Jurgen Klopp told Cody Gakpo to inspire “crazy” return to form

Jurgen Klopp and Cody Gakpo have given an insight into the mental block that stalled the Liverpool striker’s form – and how they worked together to remove it.

Gakpo’s first full season at Liverpool has been a rocky one, but the Dutchman has still managed to score 15 goals and assist another six in 51 games.

He has been used in a variety of roles, while injuries have also impacted his form, with it only recently that he has looked closer to his best.

In his pre-Aston Villa press conference, Klopp revealed that he had held a one-to-one conversation with Gakpo in a bid to address his problems on the pitch.

And in their sit-down as part of Liverpool’s ‘The Reds Roundtable’ series, the pair gave more details about what was said.

“It’s interesting, so Cody is now obviously, in this moment in time while we are sitting here, one of the most stable players, performing really well now for a few games,” Klopp said.

“We had this conversation four or five weeks ago, and I really don’t think it was that much about what we were talking [about], it was just the turning point that we spoke.

“You say you had problems before – and you will have problems in the future, that’s how it is – but how do you get out of that?

“So when sometimes, as human beings, we just give it out of our hands and say ‘it’s just not a great moment, I try really hard, I enjoy everything I’m doing’ but it’s not true.

“So we have to be honest with ourselves in these moments.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Cody Gakpo of Liverpool scores a goal and celebrates 3-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

Klopp continued:

“We spoke about it, that you try to prove something that I don’t ask you to prove, which is like a misunderstanding.

“And when you’re on the way to prove something you actually don’t have to, you lose the rest of your game a little bit.

“With stopping that, you can be yourself immediately again. It’s crazy. I think the next game, you came on and it looked completely different.

“I would like to say it was exactly because I said what I said, but I don’t think it was. It was like ‘OK, stop worrying about what was, let’s be the one I was before that’.”

“There were bad moments”

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)

It was a heart-to-heart which clearly resonated with Gakpo himself, as the 25-year-old admitted to suffering “bad moments” this season.

“I think your surroundings at home and the club you’re in are really important to overcome those situations,” he explained.

“Like when I was injured this year, everybody was looking after me; when there were bad moments I had conversations with the gaffer, with players as well.

“So I think obviously you have to be very strong mentally yourself, but your surroundings are as important, I think.”