Liverpool star ‘convinced’ over best position; could force Klopp rethink

One Liverpool player has said he’s ‘convinced’ he knows where his best position is, and if Jurgen Klopp is to grant him his wish, it could prompt the manager to rethink how he deploys a Reds teammate.

Cody Gakpo arrived from PSV Eindhoven midway through last season and enjoyed a strong first few months at Anfield, scoring seven goals in 26 games as he played primarily at centre-forward (Transfermarkt).

The Netherlands international has now stated his desire to be given a permanent number nine role, saying (via Daily Express): “Jurgen Klopp and his assistant Pepijn Lijnders indicated what they wanted from me when I first went to Liverpool.

“It took some getting used to in the beginning, but eventually I grew into the role and I would like to play in that position permanently. i feel like I am getting better and better in that spot.

“At PSV, I played mainly from the left side. It was Guus Hiddink who first pointed out to me that I had to develop more broadly as a striker. I didn’t want to believe that at the time. I felt comfortable on the left flank, but I am now convinced that the role of striker suits me.”

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Gakpo’s transformation into a centre-forward from the left-sided position he usually occupied at PSV has also manifested itself at international level, having played as a number nine in Netherlands 4-2 defeat to Croatia in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals in midweek (Transfermarkt).

Almost all of his Liverpool appearances so far have been through the middle, so it’s clear how Klopp sees him among the Reds’ starting line-up.

It was 12 months ago that the Anfield giants signed another striker in Darwin Nunez, although he too has been utilised in multiple roles across the forward line over the past year.

The Uruguayan played 15 of his 42 games last term on the left flank and actually had a better scoring rate there (seven) than in the 27 matches where he was deployed at centre-forward (eight), as per Transfermarkt.

Even accounting for his shift out wide largely stemming from Luis Diaz’s injury absence, the 23-year-old has shown that he’s more than capable of doing damage from the flanks.

Nunez could soon be taking the number nine shirt at Liverpool, but if Klopp is to grant Gakpo his wish of playing through the middle, we could see the former Benfica man frequently playing on the left again next season.

With Europa League commitments to factor in for 2023/24, the manager may regularly chop and change the composition – and indeed positioning – of his front three.

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