Premier League • England

Klopp told ‘even Messi would struggle’ in current Liverpool side as ‘real’ Cody Gakpo yet to show up

Cody Gakpo Liverpool

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen admits he feels sorry for new forward Cody Gakpo, claiming that even Lionel Messi would struggle in the current Reds side.

Liverpool’s underwhelming form continued on Saturday when they were held to goalless draw by a Chelsea side also in a period of transition, with both clubs currently sitting mid-table in the Premier League.

Having won two domestic trophies last season, along with finishing second in the Premier League and reaching the Champions League, the current campaign has been nothing short of a disaster for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

The Reds have won only eight of their 19 league games and are well off the pace in the chase for a top-four spot.

It’s true that injuries have not helped, but numerous members of Klopp’s squad have also underperformed.

That trend continued on Saturday when Liverpool failed to get the better of a struggling Chelsea team on Merseyside.

Gakpo was handed another start at the weekend, but the £40million man continues to search for his first goal for the club.

And speaking after the game, Owen feels Liverpool’s struggles have made life tough for the Netherlands international.

“I feel sorry for him actually because he’s coming in to a team that are really inconsistent and drained of all the confidence that we’ve seen in the past,” Owen told Premier League Productions.

“He had a couple of half-chances today [against Chelsea] and it’s clear he’s trying.

“I’m sure he’s going to be a good signing for the future. But at the moment, I would defy even Lionel Messi to come in and look good in this team because it’s really struggling.”

Liverpool told patience needed with Gakpo 

Former Chelsea and England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips also commented on Gakpo’s performance, adding: “I think he’s trying to make an impact on games and have an influence.

“But he’s in a struggling Liverpool team right now. And when that confidence is up, that’s when we’ll see the real Gakpo.

“Especially when the ball retention is better from Liverpool. It then gives him more time to get into the positions he wants to. They need to be patient with him.”

Klopp was brutally honest about Liverpool’s chances of finishing top four after the game. He added: “The distance we only can influence by winning – and we didn’t do that today.

“They cannot all lose now, some of them will win, some of them will draw. There are a lot of games to play, there are still a lot of games to play. And if you count all the points then you see a lot of things are possible.

“But to get there we have to continue with the things again we did now for the last two games. I saw progress, that’s good and that’s what we have to keep doing.”

The next game for the Reds is an FA Cup fourth-round clash with Brighton this coming Sunday.

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