Liverpool signed Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven this week, and the Dutch winger could form a striking partnership with Darwin Núñez, given their shared movements.
This week, and completely out of the blue, Liverpool signed PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo in something of a late Christmas present for Reds supporters.
The deal, which saw Liverpool pay the Dutch side an initial £37m ($45m/€42m), possibly rising to £45m (€50m/$54m) should add-ons be met (via The Guardian), arrived seemingly out of nowhere, with the club working effectively and very quietly to get it done.
Gakpo had been linked with a move to Manchester United (via The Independent) and so Liverpool acted swiftly to sign a player who will add something extra to Jürgen Klopp’s attack.
It really is great news for us that we have been able to do it and I have to say it has been a fantastic job by everyone involved, especially Julian [Ward],” Klopp said.
The work that has gone into this has been really impressive and in the end we have managed to sign a player who we have known about for quite some time and who we believe will have a really bright future with us.”
While there is no doubt that Liverpool need to replenish their midfield too, there can be little doubt that the attack needed an extra body considering the long-term injuries to Luis Díaz and Diogo Jota. Klopp had moved away from his 4-3-3 system due to the injuries of Jota and Díaz, but the signing of Gakpo allows the German to restore his default formation and to the same effect.
What will be interesting going forward is where Klopp plays Gakpo, as he’s someone who can operate in several positions. Primarily a left-winger for PSV, Gakpo has the ability to come in off the left-hand side and work through the centre of the pitch, where he uses his physicality to bully opposing defenders.
He’s almost a mix of Díaz and Darwin Núñez, in that respect, and his potential partnership with £64m ($80m/€75m) man Núñez is something that Liverpool supporters should keep an eye on.
Núñez, with his desire to seemingly cover every blade of grass on both sides of the field, could dovetail nicely with Gakpo, in that the Uruguayan could pull out to the left, and allow Gakpo to run into his space, and vice versa.
Núñez’s willingness to feed others has been highlighted since arriving at Liverpool in the summer, and his on-and-off the ball movement could make Liverpool’s attack more fluid and more unpredictable: never a bad trait to have.
Núñez has the playing style of an untamed beast; roaming wherever he wants to cause havoc. And while Gakpo isn’t in the same mould as Nunez in that regard, his ability to play in different positions also could produce a very fruitful dynamic between the two.
Liverpool stand to benefit from it hugely should it work. But that’ll only be evident in 2023, with Gakpo likely to make his debut against Wolves in the FA Cup.