Teamwork makes the dream work

Ward & Slot might now make Liverpool’s “particular” expertise surpass Nunez


Arne Slot won’t have been anointed as the brand new Liverpool supervisor but however the managerial saga to seek out Jurgen Klopp‘s successor is minimize and dried at this level, with Fabrizio Romano rubber-stamping the deal.

Liverpool have loved some lofty heights below Klopp’s steerage however there are a number of urgent issues heading into this new period, with the way forward for Darwin Nunez arguably an important level of rivalry for FSG‘s CEO of Soccer, Michael Edwards.

Whether or not the Uruguay worldwide might be Liverpool’s first-choice striker subsequent season stays to be seen at this early stage, and whereas there have been some promising studies concerning contemporary faces to might make an impression at a new-look Liverpool facet, Slot would possibly discover that turning to his compatriot Cody Gakpo would current the proper internally-found answer.

Cody Gakpo’s season in numbers

Liverpool welcomed Gakpo to Merseyside in January 2023 following the Netherlands star’s spectacular three-goal World Cup marketing campaign in Qatar, beating Manchester United to his signature in a £35m deal.

Final season, regardless of Liverpool’s torrid performances, the 25-year-old scored seven objectives and added three assists from simply 17 Premier League stats, “hailed for his “particular ability set” by Reds assistant supervisor Pep Lijnders.

Liverpool's Cody Gakpo.

Many may have hoped for him to lift his recreation a number of ranges this season, and whereas Gakpo has loved a measure of success as one in every of Liverpool’s forwards, he has not had a seamless experience.

Nonetheless, he is scored 15 objectives from 30 beginning appearances in all competitions this time period and has been utilised throughout a variety of positions to ameliorate a staggering injury-stricken interval all through the marketing campaign.

The 6 foot 1 ace may benefit vastly from a brand new supervisor in Slot who might realise his high quality and place him in a daily and unchanging place, for essentially the most half.

Furthermore, with Julian Ward again at Liverpool, heading FSG’s new participant growth technique, Gakpo might discover the diligent care wanted to determine his strengths and use them in a manner that might match the brand new infrastructure on Merseyside.

Why Cody Gakpo might star below Slot

Gakpo has didn’t cement a daily beginning position within the Premier League for Liverpool however he has greater than sufficient high quality and magnificence to cement a spot because the striker of Slot’s system.

The Feyenoord head coach emphasises heavy-intensity, fluid and fast-paced attacking soccer, and Gakpo boasts the trendy outlook on his craft to make an impression and probably oust Nunez because the No. 1 focal frontman.

Liverpool player Cody Gakpo

In any case, as per FBref, the Dutchman ranks among the many high 19% of forwards throughout Europe’s high 5 leagues over the previous yr for assists, the highest 7% for shot-creating actions, the highest 12% for passes tried, the highest 6% for progressive passes, the highest 17% for progressive carries, the highest 10% for profitable take-ons and the highest 2% for tackles per 90.

That is an unimaginable array of noteworthy metrics that spotlight Gakpo’s inborn technical ability and intelligence, emphasising development via technique of distribution and as a automobile himself.

By driving into harmful positions, Gakpo is ready to keep a way of dynamism that surpasses the lion’s share of centre-forwards within the Premier League – it is because of this that Klopp has opted to deploy him throughout a variety of positions this season.

Cody Gakpo: Liverpool Stats by Place 23/24









Left winger




Central midfield




Proper winger




Stats through Transfermarkt

Naturally, the £120k-per-week expertise is at his most potent when positioned in his most well-liked place at centre-forward, however he invariably showcases his creativity and flexibility.

Might he have accomplished higher this season? Undoubtedly, however Gakpo has grown in confidence and fluidity because the season has entered its later phases.

Certain, his latest efforts have been punctuated with ineffective and, a few times, ignominious shows however then so too have his friends. So too has Nunez flattered to deceive so acutely that he has eliminated LFC-related imagery from his Instagram account following criticism.

So too has Mohamed Salah been bemoaned his profligacy in entrance of aim, miles away from the standard imperiousness that has categorised his extraordinary Premier League profession.

Gakpo, lest we overlook, has been shoehorned into each position conceivable in Klopp’s last yr. Certain, he is efficient and technically proficient sufficient to make an impression throughout such roles, serving as a tactical nomad, however he’d favor to cement a spot in Liverpool’s beginning staff.

Consistency breeds outcomes. They are saying that tough work trumps expertise however fortunately the previous PSV phenomenon has each in abundance. Nevertheless, this pithy interprets to positional understanding and Gakpo wants this.

Darwin Nunez against Atalanta-1

Provided that Nunez’s antics on social media have piled on high of a rising sense of questionability surrounding his future at Liverpool – Barcelona have just lately been linked with the Uruguayan as they seek for Robert Lewandowski’s long-term substitute.

15 objectives in all competitions is hardly a nasty return for a participant who occasionally seems from the outset. There is not any query that he’s a greater finisher than Nunez: the 24-year-old ranks among the many high 18% of forwards throughout Europe’s high 5 leagues over the previous yr for objectives scored however he additionally ranks among the many high 1% for pictures taken per 90.

What does that let you know? It tells you Liverpool don’t get bang for his or her buck. Nunez is Anfield’s file acquisition at £85m and after lacking 47 large possibilities throughout his opening two Premier League campaigns, having performed 63 matches and scored 20 objectives, there are actual issues that he’s merely not the pure, silky clean goalscorer wanted to shoot Slot’s squad towards the forefront of the continental scene.

By the best way, Gakpo – for comparability functions – has scored 14 objectives and missed 11 large possibilities throughout the season-and-a-half he has performed within the English high flight. He is patently the higher finisher.


Slot might revive Salah by unleashing struggling Liverpool ace in new position

This tactical tweak would possibly work wonders for the Reds subsequent season.

Might Gakpo be Slot’s man? The uncooked goal-striking knowledge would counsel that he has instruments at hand Liverpool a extra prolific No. 9 than they presently wield as their primary.

What’s extra, he is the whole bundle. You would not guess in opposition to Slot falling for his countryman and offering him with the platform to thrive on the arrowpoint of a brand new, thrilling Liverpool system.