Liverpool have agreed on a £37 million deal to sign Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven. The Hard Tackle looks at three ways they can line up with him.
Liverpool needed some attacking reinforcements midway through the season, and Cody Gakpo could prove to be an excellent acquisition. The 23-year-old has been in fantastic form for club and country this season. So he will be expected to make an immediate impact at Anfield.
The player was linked with clubs like Manchester United. But Liverpool have done well to fend off the competition and secure his services. The versatile Dutchman showed his quality on the international stage with the Netherlands during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
So Liverpool will feel that the reported £37 million fee is a bargain. And he will now hope to make his mark in the Premier League. Here at The Hard Tackle, we look at three ways Liverpool could line up with Gakpo on their side.
PSV and @LFC have reached an agreement on the proposed transfer of Cody Gakpo.
The 23-year-old attacker will leave for England imminently where he will be subjected to the necessary formalities ahead of the completion of the transfer.
— PSV (@PSV) December 26, 2022
Left-sided forward in a 4-3-3
Cody Gakpo has been lethal from the left-wing position this season. The 23-year-old has six goals and five assists in just seven appearances when he has played as a left-sided forward in a front three this season.
His ability to finish off chances, beat his man and execute the final pass makes him an asset in the final third. So Liverpool could line up in a 4-3-3 with Gakpo operating on the left of a front three. Apart from his ability to find the net, he will certainly help create chances for the likes of Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah.
The Reds are without Luis Diaz due to an injury, and Nunez has had to fill in as the left-sided winger from time to time. But Gakpo’s arrival gives Klopp a more naturally-suited option to work with in the second half of the season.
The Dutchman is an excellent crosser of the ball, and Liverpool will benefit from having him in the wide areas, especially when they have a towering centre forward like Nunez.
Left-winger in a 4-2-3-1
Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino is currently sidelined with a minor injury. But he is expected to return to action soon. Once the experienced striker’s back in the side, Jurgen Klopp could switch to a 4-2-3-1, in order to accommodate most of his attacking players in the starting lineup.
Furthermore, the Reds would benefit from switching to a midfield pivot as well. Jordan Henderson and James Milner have not been at their best this season, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita have had persistent injury problems.
Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho are the only reliable options for Klopp. Playing a double pivot means that Klopp will not have to fill the third slot with an underperformer, and he will be able to line up with his best players.
Gakpo could slot in as the left-winger, with Firmino in the hole alongside him and Salah on the right. Nunez would be the one leading the line. In a similar setup, Gakpo can also feature as the no. 10, with Luis Diaz or Diogo Jota lining up on the left flank.
The 23-year-old Dutch international has proven himself to be an exceptional creator with his link-up play, dribbling and crossing in the final third. Gakpo has 17 assists for PSV Eindhoven this season, and there is no doubt that he could thrive as a left-winger at Liverpool. Gakpo has six goals and nine assists from 12 appearances as a left-winger this season.
Striker in a 4-4-2
Liverpool have two out-and-out wingers in Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz. They could certainly use Gakpo in a front two alongside Darwin Nunez given the opposition. Both players are physically imposing and would add a new dimension to Jurgen Klopp’s attack.
The Dutchman has played in that position for the Netherlands, and he has put up respectable numbers. He played there against USA, Qatar and Ecuador in the World Cup and scored twice.
If Liverpool are looking to add more physicality and directness to their attack, having Gakpo and Nunez up top could certainly be an exciting option. The Dutchman has the creative skills to complement Nunez in the front two.
He could drop down from time to time and link the midfield with the attack as well. The 23-year-old managed to score three goals in five appearances as an attacking midfielder for PSV Eindhoven this season.
All in all, Gakpo seems like an exciting prospect for Liverpool and his ability to slot into multiple roles across the pitch seamlessly will add a new dimension to Klopp’s attack. The Liverpool manager needed more options to work with, and the £37 million signing is as versatile as they come.
Note: Stats via WhoScored and Transfermarkt
Good analysis. Liverpool have signed three players in one and somebody who could be Firmino’s successor. If they get one or even two top class midfielders , either in January or the summer, they will be back to their best.