Liverpool's Cody Gakpo says his failure to score HAS affected him

‘It’s difficult for a new player to come in when we’re struggling’: Liverpool’s new £44m star Cody Gakpo admits the club’s poor form has made it hard to adapt at Anfield and says his failure to score or assist HAS affected him

  • Cody Gakpo admits he has been affected by not scoring or setting up goals 
  • The forward moved to Liverpool in January and has only one win in six games
  • The 23-year-old is now preparing to take part in his first Merseyside derby 

Cody Gakpo isn’t pretending the start to his Liverpool career has been ideal.

Six games in, there has been only one win, and no goals – not what he or Jurgen Klopp anticipated when he signed from PSV in the January window having shone for Holland at the World Cup.

Even the new Dutch national team manager Ronald Koeman has weighed in, claiming it was too early for Gakpo to make the move and that an experienced 28-year-old would cope better in the trying circumstances.

Fortunately, 23-year-old Gakpo isn’t the brittle type and comes from strong sporting stock with dad Johnny having played international football for Togo and mum Ank rugby for Holland.

His Dutch team-mate Virgil van Dijk scored his first Liverpool goal in a Merseyside derby so he’s hoping history can repeat itself when Everton come to Anfield on Monday.

Cody Gakpo has not had an ideal start to his career at Liverpool since his January transfer

‘I’m an attacking player so I like to score goals and give assists,’ he says emphatically. ‘When you don’t, anyone would be lying if they said it didn’t affect them.

‘You are judged on that so it’s something I need to get back as quickly as possible.

‘It would be amazing to come into a team that won every game but I don’t think it’s bad to come into this situation. During times like this you improve things you don’t know about yourself.

‘We know we have to improve and start winning. We have so much quality but we all have to step up as a team.’

He also has a nice response to Koeman that it was too soon to make the £35million move to Anfield.

‘When I got the opportunity to come to a massive club like this, I don’t wait for five years more!’ he smiles. ‘I see it more as a challenge.

‘It’s my first transfer and of course I have to adapt. I might make certain movements on the pitch that the other players don’t know.

‘For example, what Thiago does when he gets the ball, maybe I have to move a little bit differently. It’s just learning about each other and getting better.

The 23-year-old has admitted that not scoring or setting up goals has affected him and his play

‘I think everybody knows we are a little bit struggling in every area so it is more difficult for a new player to come in. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to improve. I can do a lot more.

‘For me, I see every difficulty as a possibility. I realise you don’t have all the time in the world so it’s up to me to perform and figure it out as quickly as possible, even though I might not have the best relationships yet.’

Certainly, Klopp needs someone to start firing. Having been without Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and van Dijk with long-term injuries, Liverpool sit mid-table and have been beaten 3-0 at Brighton and Wolves in the past month.

Gakpo scored 16 times for PSV and Holland in the first half of the season and can play anywhere along the front line. At Liverpool, he’s mainly been on the left covering Diaz but in Qatar he starred at centre-forward.

‘Wherever it is, the most important thing for me is to get on the ball, turn and run at opponents. That’s where I am most dangerous,’ he says.

Having been linked with the Premier League since the summer, the final act of joining Liverpool was done quickly, fielding calls on Boxing Day surrounded by his nieces during a family Christmas get-together.

‘I nearly went to Leeds in the summer but Louis van Gaal (Dutch manager at the time) advised me that a change of team before the World Cup might be difficult so I decided not to go,’ he explains.

‘To be honest, the speculation affected me a little bit because it was the first time it had happened to me. I just had to think ‘forget about it, play your best and see what happens later on’.

‘To be honest, the speculation affected me a little bit’: Gakpo struggled with talk of a transfer

‘Then when I heard about interest from Liverpool in the winter (before January transfer window), I didn’t think about anything else. There was also Chelsea maybe but I already had my mind made up.

‘This is a good place for me to improve and develop and eventually show who I can be.’

Ironically, his manager at PSV, former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, wanted him to go to Old Trafford rather than Anfield but Gakpo says there is no bad blood between them.

‘It was just his wish I went to a big club and I think I achieved that,’ said Gakpo. ‘We have a good relationship and still speak some times on the phone. He tries to help me.’

In Eindhoven, Gakpo was also able to hear about the footballing passion on Merseyside from PSV sporting director Marcel Brands, who used to work at Goodison, and defender Jarrad Branthwaite who is on loan from Everton and been linked to Liverpool.

Now Gakpo is about to find out first-hand in a match both teams can’t afford to lose, with Liverpool getting further away from the European places and Everton in a relegation battle.

‘This is my first derby in the UK. I can not wait,’ he says.

Gakpo (right) is preparing to take part in his first Merseyside derby against struggling Everton

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