Cody Gakpo demonstrates rare quality Arne Slot will love in his Liverpool team

The dedication of Cody Gakpo to his country at Euro 2024 will have impressed his new Liverpool head coach, Arne Slot
-Credit: (Image: Maja Hitij - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Cody Gakpo's forensic approach to his preparation for games at Euro 2024 has been clear during the Netherlands' campaign - and new Liverpool head coach will be optimistic that he will encounter a kindred spirit as they begin work together on Merseyside.

The forward has been a key member of Ronald Koeman's squad over in Germany, starting all three of his nation's games at the tournament so far. He has repaid the faith shown in him by his manager with talismanic showings in the Dutch attack too - contributing two goals in the group stage.

Having earned Holland's place in the last 16, the 25-year-old has taken an academic approach to his work by revealing that he has watched all three of his next opponents' games at the championships so far. Already known for his studious demeanor at Anfield, the Reds striker is leaving nothing to chance ahead of the clash with Romania.

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As Holland chase a place in the quarter-finals, Gakpo revealed that he has been doing his homework on the team he will face next. Speaking in advance of the crunch clash at Munich's Allianz Arena, he acknowledged: "To be honest I watched all three games from them.

“They have some good players, I can’t say that one in particular is the best one, but as a team they were very good," he continued, as he outlined Romania's strengths. "In the attacking line they have some dribblers like [Ianis] Hagi and [Dennis] Man, and steady midfielders as well. And the right-back is a good one."

With Gakpo set to eventually team up with Reds boss Slot following the conclusion of his commitments with his national team this summer, his dedication off the pitch will have done his reputation no harm with the new head coach. The former PSV Eindhoven player impressed during the run-in to last season as he rallied following a mixed start to the campaign.

Cody Gakpo's dedication to his work for the Netherlands will have impressed Liverpool boss Arne Slot
Cody Gakpo's dedication to his work for the Netherlands will have impressed Liverpool boss Arne Slot -Credit:Getty

The versatile ace has 23 goals in 79 appearances for the Merseysiders and ended the previous term with 16 goals and six assists in 53 outings. His best form last season arguably came in the last eight games as he tallied up five goal involvements with three goals and a pair of assists - providing a cause for optimism ahead of 2024-25.

For now, Slot will be hoping it is a couple of weeks before he has his first conversation with Gakpo, however, as his countryman bids to lead the Netherlands to glory at Euro 2024. Previously, the head coach confirmed that he has largely left those on international duty to their own devices since his appointment.

In his first interview after being announced as Klopp's successor, the Dutchman said: "I've reached out to a few of them – all of them after Jürgen left, because I thought that was really important to be fair to Jürgen and be fair to the players. Because they had to end the season and I don't think I would be really happy if my successor would have called players before I left the club.

"Then I think it's normal to start with the captain, which is Virgil [van Dijk], which is an easy one for me because we could speak Dutch! And from there on I called a few others, but not many of them because most of them are in preparation, or at this moment playing, at the Euros, and some others are in preparation at the Copa America. So I think the best way is to keep a certain distance but also be interested in them as well."

The boss added: "And hoping that most of them – especially the Dutch! – will still be as long as possible away so they will reach the final. Then afterwards I will get to meet them and I think that's a better way of getting to know each other than by phone or Zoom meetings."