Daniel Sturridge makes Liverpool frustration known with Cody Gakpo observation

Gakpo has three goals in four games for the Netherlands at Euro 2024.
-Credit: (Image: 2024 Getty Images)

Former Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge has urged new head coach Arne Slot to get the best out of Cody Gakpo, as the forward continues to shine at Euro 2024.

Gakpo opened the scoring for the Netherlands as the nation progressed to the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 following a 3-0 win against Romania. It was Gakpo's third goal of the tournament, making him the joint-top scorer, and it was the first time that the Netherlands had scored first in this competition.

The 25-year-old signed for Liverpool in January 2023 after Dutch team PSV accepted a bid worth $55 million, and became an important member of the squad under former head coach Jurgen Klopp. However, Gakpo is yet to consistently start for Liverpool, something Sturridge believes needs to change.

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"Gakpo is a different player for Netherlands man. Gotta get the best out of him at LFC," Sturridge posted on X. Slot has been shown how much quality Gakpo possesses this summer, and Sturridge has put pressure on the new coach to prioritize fitting him into the team.

Liverpool initially signed Gakpo after the Dutch forward stood out at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, where he scored three goals for his nation. Gakpo has once again shown his quality on the international stage 18 months later, but couldn't do enough to convince Klopp he deserved to be a regular starter.

Gakpo starred in his first half-season with the Reds after arriving in January 2023, scoring seven goals in his first 21 Premier League games. He'd already scored nine in 14 games for PSV before making the move, and Liverpool had already been pursuing Gakpo before his performance in Qatar removed any doubts.

Jurgen Klopp limited Gakpo's starts last season as he rotated Liverpool's forwards.
Jurgen Klopp limited Gakpo's starts last season as he rotated Liverpool's forwards. -Credit:2023 Liverpool FC

Last season, Gakpo was just as effective with eight goals in the Premier League and four during Liverpool's European campaign, but half of his appearances came off the bench. Klopp started Gakpo just 17 times in the league last season, bringing him on as a substitute on 18 occasions.

Now, Gakpo has the opportunity to win over a new head coach, and Slot happens to also be Dutch. The new Liverpool coach would have watched his new players extensively on international duty this summer but will be well aware of Gakpo due to the Dutch national team, and also due to their paths crossing in the past.

Gakpo spent six seasons playing for PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie before moving to Liverpool, and Slot coached both AZ and Feyenoord in the same division between 2019 and 2024. Gakpo is confident that Slot's playing style will work at Liverpool and hopes to become a crucial part of it.

"I think so, otherwise the club wouldn’t have appointed him," Gakpo told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf when being asked if Slot's philosophy will be suited to Liverpool. "If you talk about neat football and high pressure, with the latter being a very big characteristic of us under Jurgen Klopp, then that is also something we are certainly used to."