Premier League • England

Liverpool star hails influence of Virgil van Dijk and relishes challenge of new role under Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool player Cody Gakpo, August 2023

Liverpool player Cody Gakpo, August 2023

Liverpool star Cody Gakpo has insisted that he is ready to kick on with the Reds, with Jurgen Klopp utilising him in a new role this season.  

The Netherlands international joined Liverpool in a €42m (£36m) deal from PSV Eindhoven in January, after months of speculation about his future.

Gakpo had been heavily linked with a move to bitter rivals Manchester United, before the Merseyside club swooped for his signature after he impressed during the World Cup.

He has been a regular in Liverpool’s team ever since, making 21 Premier League appearances last season, scoring seven goals and making three assists.

Gakpo has featured in all four of the Reds Premier League matches so far this season, and is ready to perform even better after his teammates have helped him to acclimatise to English football.

The Dutchman has also said that he is willing to play in a variety of positions, with his versatility proving to be a real asset for Liverpool.

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Gakpo hails Van Dijk influence

In a recent interview with Dutch outlet Voetbal International, as cited by Soccer News, Gakpo has praised Virgil van Dijk in particular for helping him get used to life with Liverpool.

“My feeling is good. I can look back on a good preparation and start of the season, in which I played in different positions,” he said.

“Of course, it can always be better, that’s how I am wired, but I felt good and I’m enjoying myself in Liverpool. I came halfway through the season and there’s a lot to think about.

“Everyone at the club helped me a lot, including Virgil van Dijk who showed me the ropes, and I am very grateful to him for that.”

Despite Gakpo’s natural position being a left-winger, he has been used in several different positions since his arrival at Anfield.

Klopp has utilised the Dutchman as a centre-forward in the past. This season, however, we have seen Gakpo in a much deeper role as part of a midfield three. This is partly because of the return of Luis Diaz, who has become Klopp’s first choice left winger.

Gakpo wants to thrive in new role

When asked about the challenge of playing as a midfielder for Liverpool, Gakpo says that he is determined to make the position his own.

“In the beginning it always takes some getting used to when you are in a different position, but then it is also important to pick it up quickly and show that I am versatile as a player,” he added.

“You just want to play and be of value, it doesn’t matter where. The trainer sees me as an attacker, but I can also bring those attacking impulses from midfield. That’s the reason I also make minutes there.

“We also play very dynamically, so that we have the space to change positions. This often happens naturally.

“Developing myself in several areas also suits me as a person. That’s how I am, and that also applies to my development on the field. That also reflects on how I am as a player, that it is important for me to become a more complete player.”

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