'When it's difficult, a real team shows up' – Gakpo hails Liverpool togetherness after tough run

Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Cody Gakpo has put Liverpool's recent upturn in form down to the spirit and togetherness of Jurgen Klopp's squad, saying: "When it's difficult, a real team shows up".

Liverpool failed to win any of their first four league games of 2023, leaving Klopp facing the most severe criticism of his Anfield tenure to date, but back-to-back wins have improved the mood on Merseyside.

Gakpo claimed his first Liverpool goal in a 2-0 victory against local rivals Everton last week, before scoring in another 2-0 win over fellow top-four contenders Newcastle United on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg with Real Madrid, Gakpo suggested Liverpool's mini-revival may have come at the perfect time.

"I think it's difficult to put your finger on something that has really changed, but everyone knows when you're not winning the games, it's difficult," Gakpo said.

"I think the games we won, we played better than in the games before, and the result is maybe the outcome of the greater intensity we had in those games.

"As a newcomer, I sense that the group is really good, we come together and stay together in difficult moments. It was difficult to try to stay positive and keep helping each other, it has helped us go on to better things.

"When it's difficult, a real team shows up. This is one of those times. We really stuck together and stayed positive and tried to help each other in the difficult moments.

"Just in time, we started winning games again, and now we have a big opportunity to show we are back on track."

Despite spending the majority of his time with former club PSV stationed on the left flank, Gakpo has largely been used as a central striker since his arrival at Liverpool.

However, the Netherlands international feels comfortable playing either role, adding: "I played the last three years on the left side, but at the World Cup under Louis van Gaal I already played in the centre.

"I already tried to adapt to that, and when I came here the coach said it was possible for me to play on the left or in the centre, so I'll try to adapt quickly to that position and improve."