Liverpool’s signing of PSV Eindhoven striker Cody Gakpo came as a bit of a surprise to fans, given he was so heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.
The £37million signing is a very flexible and fluid striker and is capable of playing on the front line, but he has mainly played on the left wing for his club and in the middle for Holland.
With 13 goals and 17 assists in just 24 games so far this season, there’s no doubt the 23-year-old is one of the most in-form strikers in Europe at the moment, but how is he integrates into a club that already has so much attacking talent.
Gakpo said: “I can’t wait to start training and playing for this incredible club.
“I think it’s a great club for me to come in and try to show what I can. [do] and try to help the team achieve more beautiful moments than they have already done in the past years.
“I think for me personally it’s also good to develop here and there are a lot of great players here. [who] I can learn a lot of things.”
That said, here are three ways Liverpool could line up with Gakpo in the second half of the season.
Klopp used a 4-3-3 formation for most of his time at Liverpool and found great success with it, so it stands to reason that Gakpo would fit into the already bespoke system, rather than the system caters to his needs. .
With most of the squad already pinned down, the striker could slot in either as a striker or as a left wing.
Given Liverpool’s fluidity and attacking style, starting in either of those two positions shouldn’t make too much of a difference, as they’re likely to drift inside if they are. on the left wing or will move around the other attackers if he plays central.
But Nunez and Gakpo could easily be swapped as both have played in the other positions so far this season so a small adjustment could be made as Nunez has been a threat down the left and the front three would be full of power and rhythm. .
Jota and Diaz’s injuries mean he’ll likely feature what would be Klopp’s strongest XI on the left.
When Klopp changed it this season, we’ve seen him deploy a 4-2-2-2 formation, like in the 3-2 loss to Arsenal earlier in the season at the Emirates Stadium.
It’s also been seen in wins over Rangers, West Ham and Manchester City, and it might be more suited to Gakpo than the 4-3-3.
Gakpo could again feature just on the left, with Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino up front.
Or he could be in the top two, and Liverpool could go for Fabio Carvalho on the left, if they want to keep an attacking option on the bench, like with Nunez and Firmino up front, that would mean they wouldn’t have not all senior strikers on the bench until Jota and Diaz return.
Don’t be surprised if we see this formation resurface at some point in the season, especially against teams where they are expected to dominate and win well.
4-3-3 (with Diaz and Jota adjustment)
Given that Diaz and Jota will both return before the end of the season, it’s important to consider what the squad could be with those available, as they will be.
Diaz is by far the team’s best option on the left wing as he is the most natural winger in the team, but that would mean Gakpo could only play up front in this scenario.
Nunez, Jota and Firmino would all be options off the bench here, with two of them doubling as potential options on the left, as well as in the centre.
In this system, Gakpo could play similarly to Jota as number nine; he would be an option in the box and anticipate chances like a traditional number nine, but he could also play against the other two forwards, in what would be a typically fluid Klopp forward three.
How do you think Liverpool will line up now that they have signed Gakpo? What is Klopp’s best XI?
Let us know in the comments.