Cody GAKPO: 2023/24

Perhaps you’d like to point out those posts where he has been blamed for our cup exit or not being ten points clear in the league? I haven’t seen any of those: all I have seen is people saying he isn’t in form or, worse, that he isn’t good enough.

But nobody has- to the best of my knowledge- blamed him for anything.

Two ways of looking at it.

Sometimes we say we have 5 main forwards, sometimes we say we have 1+4 (Salah and then all the others), sometimes we view someone as the “last” of those 5.

Gakpo isn’t stuck last all the time without chances to earn more. Last spring he was slightly ahead of Nunez on paper, this season it’s more the opposite.

In and out of the team? Team selection gets picked on merit, obviously certain players performed relatively better and played more minutes than he did.

Shifted around into four different roles? Well, that’s positive to start with, although to mixed success (midfield at a real stretch, he hasn’t really performed well there). If he had performed better than he did, he would’ve nailed more a certain position.

We don’t have to pretend that we don’t watch all games and our dynamics. James Pearce makes a living of it. Cody Gakpo mainly competes for two positions and those two are the positions he played before he arrived. Mainly off the left at PSV and part of a front central two at the last WC.

We are rarely without Salah and this season was the first time when he missed a bit more than usually. In our ideal world, we’re not really working with Gakpo to make him a right sided forward. He’s had chances and will possibly get more to earn a more important role in one of his two main positions.

If he wants to raise a valid question of the club’s investement in our last 3 main forwards and that we still have some unanswered questions (which doesn’t obviously block us from being close to a really successful season), why not.

I don’t see anyone making him a scapegoat. It’s just normal football talk about different players’ form, quality, style, what we think their ceiling is, etc.

Blaming Gakpo? I’m not sure a lot of people are blaming him.

But at the same Gakpo hasn’t nailed down a spot because he hasn’t been one of our better players. By no means do I think he is a bad player. He is a good player.

But can he be improved on? My feeling is yes.

“One of the things I keep reminding players is that when you’re lost in a fog, you must stick together. Then you don’t get lost.

“If there’s a secret about Liverpool, that’s it.”

Bob Paisley

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Two assists vs Scotland.

Nice on a twisted ankle

He only comes alive at LW

How many of his 13 goals for us this season did he score from LW?

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Said a few times I hope we don’t forget he can also play on the left side. And he does sometimes, but Diaz had a little period just after his dad’s situation where he played a lot of football and wasn’t great. Right side of attack and midfield is only for emergency situations really, to cover two positions in forward areas is pretty standard.

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Salah on Liverpool’s must underrated player:

“I will say Cody, but I don’t know if the fans agree.”

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Sad that they know people are on his back….

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I have huge respect for Mac Allister for taking time to praise Gakpo in his post-match interview last night. Gakpo should be scoring more headers like that one (or maybe “should be scoring more”, full stop), he’s tall and strong enough, with a decent leap on him. Mac Allister’s and Salah’s comments on him probably suggest that his recent form was taking its toll on him, so I hope that goal takes that monkey off his back.

It’s not just his goal, his movement looked much better against Sheffield, especially against a packed defence. He’s been taking up some strange positions lately but there was something notably different about him last night - he just kept making the right decisions in terms of movement. I don’t expect him to turn into prime Firmino now but I’ll take every positive from our players, especially those who have been going through a rough patch.

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