Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has advised Cody Gakpo to take his chance to nail down a regular position in Jurgen Klopp’s lineups.
It is approaching a year since Liverpool agreed a deal to sign Gakpo from PSV. So far, he has scored 13 goals from 42 appearances for his current club, including six from 16 this season.
Most recently, Gakpo got a brace against LASK in the Europa League on Thursday, in just the second example of him completing 90 minutes in 2023-24.
The Netherlands international has rotated around a variety of attacking roles since Liverpool signed him and it was as a centre-forward that he did the damage against LASK.
When he arrived last year, though, Gakpo had been playing more as a winger for PSV. He is also capable of operating in behind the striker.
His versatility is an asset, Owen has claimed, but to become a regular starter like Mohamed Salah, Gakpo might need to develop his expertise in one role only.
Owen told TNT Sports: “It’s good being versatile. But if he was that good, and he was one of the first names on the team sheet, he would only have one position.
“You don’t move Mo Salah from the right-hand side.
“If he’s going to be a top player for Liverpool, I think he’s got to put in performances whereby Jurgen Klopp says, ‘right, Cody Gakpo, in the team, in that position, because he’s so vital’.
“At the moment he fits in a little bit which probably helps him get games under his belt.
‘He’ll want to be better than that’
“But I think he’ll want to be better than that to be a regular starter. I think the manager will decide that in terms of where he plays.
“He can just affect it by how he plays when he gets the chance like tonight, that’s the only way he can affect it as a player.
“You can’t knock on the manager’s door – well you can, but it’d be a pretty stupid thing to do to knock on the manager’s door and say, ‘I’m only playing this position now’, because you might find yourself on the bench a lot of the time, so he’s got to do his talking on the pitch.”
In attack, Gakpo primarily competes with Darwin Nunez for a place at centre-forward, or Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota for a place on the left wing.
Gakpo has a contract at Anfield until 2028, so has every chance of cementing his place in the Liverpool system for years to come.