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Cody Gakpo delivers ‘strange’ Liverpool admission after Manchester United transfer failure

Cody Gakpo delivers ‘strange’ Liverpool admission after Manchester United transfer failure

It’s easy to imagine a contrasting scenario for Cody Gakpo this weekend. If Manchester United had succeeded, the Dutch player would have joined their team last summer and been getting ready to face Liverpool today, just a short trip down the East Lancs Road.

United’s manager Erik ten Hag was even willing to postpone the transfer until the end of the season, as Gakpo’s reputation soared after an impressive performance at the World Cup in Qatar.

However, Liverpool acted on this opportunity and secured the player for £44 million. Now, Gakpo is anticipated to be in the starting lineup for Jurgen Klopp’s team as they try to diminish the notion of Manchester United’s title challenge after winning the League Cup, while also boosting their own chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

The arrival of Gakpo signifies another shift in Liverpool’s attacking lineup, which was highlighted on Friday when it was announced that Roberto Firmino will depart the club when his contract ends this season. Mane was seemingly replaced by Darwin Nunez last summer, leaving only Salah from the well-known forward trio that established its legacy during the Klopp era.

However, the transition has already begun, with Nunez, Salah, and Gakpo contributing to eight of Liverpool’s last nine goals. Gakpo has been buoyed by his initial experiences with the team.

“Playing with guys like Salah and Nunez is fantastic, of course,” says Gakpo. “It’s great to try to score goals together. I think we’re starting to get used to each other more and more every day. So, I think we’re going to be all right.

“We’re getting more and more in sync. That’s just something that takes time. Normally it all happens during pre-season when you have time to get to know each other, but in this case we didn’t have that time so things went a bit differently than usual.”

Gakpo has faced difficulties since joining the team. Liverpool was struggling after the World Cup, and it wasn’t until his seventh game that he scored his first goal for the club in a victory over Everton last month. He scored his second goal just five days later against Newcastle United and played a role in Salah’s decisive goal off the bench in the recent match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“To be honest, you know that people are going to expect a lot from you, but I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself,” says Gakpo. “The dream is that you score in the first minute of the first game you play, but I had to wait a little bit. I try to stay calm and try to perform as best as I can. That’s how I deal with such a situation.

“But it’s also the first time for me to make a move so that is also new to me and I think in the beginning it was a little bit difficult to adapt. As a team we had a little bit of a difficult period so that makes it even more difficult for me, but in the end I try to work hard every day and improve my game.

“Changing clubs halfway through the season is kind of strange. Everything is different. I think with every game I’m getting better, but there is a lot to improve and I’m working hard on that.”

Gakpo, who has recently played as a central forward after starting his Liverpool career on the left wing, is hopeful of being selected for the match against Manchester United on Sunday. However, with the return of Firmino and Jota, as well as the imminent comeback of Luis Diaz, there is increasing competition for spots in the team as Liverpool aims for a top-four finish.

The win against Everton last month may have been a turning point in Liverpool’s Premier League season, as they have now won 10 points out of 12 while keeping four clean sheets. Speaking to the official Liverpool FC program, Gakpo stated that the victory was crucial, particularly given the team’s struggles in the games leading up to it. He also praised the support of the fans at Anfield, stating that it helped the team get through.

“Because of the World Cup, we are only just past halfway of the season, so there is still a lot to fight for. When you win games you get a winner’s confidence and now we want to keep that feeling and that confidence by trying to win a lot more.”

Cody Gakpo delivers ‘strange’ Liverpool admission after Manchester United transfer failure

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