Jurgen Klopp has shed light on his tactical plans for new Liverpool signing Cody Gakpo, before mimicking a Pep Lijnders response about any other January business and revealing the potential impact on Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool announced on Wednesday that Cody Gakpo will become their player on January 1. They have reached an agreement to sign him from PSV Eindhoven, and the Netherlands international has accepted personal terms after passing a medical.
On the day of the announcement, Klopp already gave some insight into what he likes about Gakpo. One day later, he has revealed more about their new recruit.
Speaking at a press conference, Klopp said: “He’s a really, really good player so the package is really interesting. That’s why we were very interested to get him in and I’m really happy we could do it.
“Big for him. Big for us. Great day.”
Gakpo will not become a Liverpool player in time for their next fixture, against Leicester City on December 30. Beyond then, Klopp has admitted it is unlikely he will be ready for the match against Brentford on January 2.
However, once he is at his disposal, Gakpo will offer Klopp an option in various positions.
Liverpool have already been advised to use him on the left wing, which is where he has played for PSV mainly this season. It has been productive territory, since he has contributed 13 goals and 17 assists from 24 appearances in 2022-23.
But Klopp thinks Gakpo is capable of performing in other roles as well, even though he knows his best position.
Klopp said: “The position he has played most often is on the left, that is clear. But he can play all four positions up front if you play a 4-2-3-1 and is still very young. In good form with league and World Cup.
“The position he probably prefers he can play is on the left of a 4-3-3.”
In that regard, Gakpo can cover for the injured Luis Diaz when he is ready to make his Liverpool debut.
The deal for Liverpool to sign Gakpo came seemingly out of nowhere. Up until very recently, it looked like a move to Manchester United would be the likeliest way for the 23-year-old to end up in the Premier League.
But Liverpool accelerated quickly after keeping their interest under wraps, which Klopp is happy with.
With that in mind, he has given little else away about any other plans they might have for the January transfer window.
He said: “I like very much what Lijnders said – we discuss these things in the board room and not the press room.
“To bring in Cody the way we did is a really good sign. Quite a few people knew about it and nothing came out which is very, very helpful.
“So you really cannot expect me to answer the question [about transfers this month].”
While any names will not be revealed ahead of schedule, Klopp could give some insight into Liverpool’s ability to spend during the winter window.
They are paying a fee of up to £45million for Gakpo, it is believed, which may have an impact on their budget for other targets.
Klopp admitted: “The money you spend impacts on the money you can spend [in future]. Same for anyone. But we know what we want to do and see if we can do it.
“It’s about money of course but it’s more about how it always was – the right players. We are really, really happy we got Cody.
“It’s about timing and getting players in at the right moment. He always made the next step. We believe in our process, when players, especially offensive ones, they all make a step forward because of the way we work and can help them.”
As Klopp alluded to, there is a belief that Gakpo will be the right man for Liverpool going forward. But they already have plenty of competition in his territory – at least when everyone is fit.
Asked if the injuries to Diaz and Diogo Jota heightened their interested in Gakpo, Klopp clarified: “No, not at all.
“We decided to do something from the sports point of view without having a green light from the financial side two/three months ago.
“In the end because we did it early, it might have been influenced.”
Klopp addresses Firmino future at press conference
With one more attacker on board, there could now be concerns as to whether Roberto Firmino will stay.
The Brazil international is in the final year of his contract at Anfield, but has returned to form this season and Liverpool would like him to stay.
Asked if Gakpo’s arrival could spell the end for Firmino, Klopp replied: “No.
“We had talks with Bobby. From my point of view I want him definitely to stay. It has no impact.
“If it affects Bobby then you’d have to ask him.”
Elsewhere in his press conference, Klopp confirmed defender Ibrahima Konate has resumed training and is in contention to feature against Leicester. Furthermore, no new injury concerns have arisen after their 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
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