Classy Cody can help get the Reds ‘train’ back – as Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hails new signing Gakpo ahead of his debut in Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Wolves
Jurgen Klopp is ready to launch Cody Gakpo’s Liverpool career safe in the knowledge that he has signed a professional with an impeccable attitude.
Gakpo has impressed his new team-mates in training this week and will feature in Saturday night’s FA Cup third round against Wolves, with Klopp preparing to field a strong squad as Liverpool begin their defending the trophy they won in May.
Liverpool came late to win the race to sign Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven for £43 million, more than Manchester United, and Klopp gave an honest insight into why the Netherlands international chose to move to Merseyside in instead of contacting Erik ten Hag.
Jurgen Klopp is set to launch Cody Gakpo’s Liverpool career safe in the knowledge that he is a star
The new £43million arrival from PSV Eindhoven (pictured) impressed in training this week and is set to make his debut when the Reds face Wolves at Anfield in the FA Cup on Saturday
In recent times, Klopp has told new January signings – such as Virgil van Dijk and Luis Diaz – that Liverpool are on course to qualify for the Champions League but that is not part of the sales pitch this time. However, that did not stop the negotiations.
‘There were easier moments to join Liverpool,’ said Klopp, who confirmed the hamstrung Van Dijk will be missing for more than a month. ‘Last year we didn’t qualify for the Champions League but it looks like it will happen.
‘This year we can’t guarantee that but Cody didn’t ask. Players sometimes ask, ‘Do you think you can reach the Champions League?’ but he could read the table himself, so he knew it was a tough decision.
‘But what I like about it is that he’s obviously a man who doesn’t want to jump on a moving train, he wants to push the train. I like that very much. Good for him, as well, because it always helps in life if you’re a little like that. And that’s how it happened.’
And German boss Klopp has revealed exactly how instrumental defender Virgil van Dijk (right) was in persuading his Holland international team-mate to join him on Merseyside
Van Dijk was an instrumental figure in the deal, telling his compatriot about the journey he has been on since moving to Anfield and explaining why the environment would be perfect for Gakpo to take the next step. Klopp also believes the environment will help him develop.
‘We describe it internally as a family and it is exactly that,’ said Klopp. ‘We sing birthday songs for everyone, everyone gets flowers at the right moment, we do things like this. We never forget personal things and that’s what Virgil probably told him.
‘We could have been more successful on the pitch at the moment, definitely. But everyone knows that we will fight with everything we need to get there again, and we will get there. It’s always difficult in these moments and I really like the fact that he quickly decided, ‘That’s the right club for me’. It speaks volumes.’
It’s also telling that Liverpool will pick the strongest team possible for this competition, which could end up being their best hope of winning silverware this season.
Alisson (left) is set to start in goal despite deputy Caoimhin Kelleher (right) needing game time
To illustrate that point, Alisson will play in goal even if his deputy Caoimhin Kelleher needs games.
Gakpo, however, will undoubtedly be the subject of all the interest and Klopp was excited when he spoke to the 23-year-old on the phone after Liverpool received permission from PSV. Klopp was also encouraged by what he saw of Gakpo at the World Cup and hopes the positive impressions will continue.
‘I met him before,’ said Klopp. ‘Then I spoke to the boy and he had perfect English, so the conversation was easy. In that moment you see his face, the smile has warmth there and we have information from Virgil about him as a person.
‘So there are no doubts. Personality is very important, not only in football but in life in general. I am very happy with the signing. He was obviously full of joy, enjoying every second of the moment. Everything is so beautiful.’