John Barnes on the form of Liverpool’s Dutch forward Cody Gakpo

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Following on from Liverpool’s stunning 7-0 against fierce rivals Manchester United, we sat down with Liverpool icon John Barnes to discuss the form of forward Cody Gakpo. Gakpo scored an impressive double and seems to be finding his feet at Anfield. 

Gakpo is a modern Liverpool striker

Filling the void of the departed Sadio Mane and injured Luis Diaz are two differing but big pairs of boots to fill. Mane has engraved his name in Anfield history after a stunning six year period at Liverpool. Meanwhile, Luis Diaz has thrilled the Anfield crowd with his high octante approach on the wing since joining Liverpool last year. Gakpo had been expected to to be utilised as a winger. However, Gakpo has found himself deployed in a more central role under Klopp and it proved effective in Liverpool’s win over Manchester United. Barnes believes that Gakpo is perfect for Liverpool’s front three due to the interchangeability of him and his fellow forwards.  

“He has played as a centre-forward for his old club and with his pace and strength, he’s 6’2-6’3″ and can score goals with his head.”

“The way we play, he can play in that position and so can Nunez.”

“The interchangeability for the front three, particularly Nunez and Gakpo as Mo might be our main goalscorer but he isn’t going to play down the middle.”

“Gakpo is not a modern forward but he’s a modern Liverpool striker. If he played for somebody else, he probably wouldn’t play that way. But the way Liverpool play with a front three who are interchangeable, he’s perfect.”

Liverpool still in need of consistency

Whilst Barnes was impressed with Liverpool’s win against United and the performance of Gakpo he isn’t willing to get too excited due to Liverpool’s inconsistency throughout the season so far. He believes that if Liverpool are to reach their desired goals for the remainder of the season, they will need to show the same effort and determination against Bournemouth this weekend. 

“Everyone’s performance was fantastic. We played against Man Utd and we beat them 7-0. We were fantastic.”

“Now the week before if you see, why we’re talking about Gakpo is because he hadn’t scored goals and he wasn’t playing particularly well. Does that make him fantastic all of a sudden?”

“The whole idea, that all of a sudden that everything is different, everything is fine means that we have to show a level of consistency over a period of time.”

Gakpo and Nunez are still adapting

Both Gakpo and Nunez have been forced to adapt to a new style of football at a new club, in a new city. Different people, cultures and way of living. Both the Liverpool forwards are only 23 years of age with plenty of scope of development in all aspects of their game. Barnes is excited at the potential of both players and is excited to see where they land when Klopp has given his squad a much needed revamp. 

“When Nunez wasn’t scoring, when Gakpo wasn’t scoring, people were saying – ‘what are they doing? They’re not good enough’ – and all of a sudden ‘they’re the best in the world’. We have to stop doing that.”

“They’re young players, coming to a new city, in a team which has not been playing the way it has been for the last two-three years so they’re going to be inconsistent as well.”

“But they have got great potential and they’re showing, at times, what they can do, like they did against Man Utd. Now we want to see that more consistently and as the team performs more consistently, we’ll see everybody start to perform more consistently.”

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