Jamie Carragher reckons Liverpool will have no issues deciding to sell one of their big-name attackers after questioning how they can keep all six players happy at Anfield.
The Liverpool board have backed Jurgen Klopp early in the January window by splashing out on Cody Gakpo. The new arrival was watching from the stands on Friday night as the Reds recorded a 2-1 win over Leicester to move within two points of Tottenham in fourth.
The Merseysiders are paying PSV an initial £37m for Gakpo, with the fee rising to around £45m with add-ons. And the role Virgil van Dijk has played in his signing has been revealed here, with Manchester United initially looking likely to pounce.
Gakpo arrives at Anfield with a huge reputation in the Netherlands. He scored goals for fun for PSV, already playing a role in 30 goals in 24 games so far this season.
The 23-year-old can play across the attack, though is most commonly seen on the left-wing – a position Luis Diaz likes operating in for the Reds.
Indeed, the signing of Gakpo is the fourth big-money addition Liverpool have made in their attack in the last 27 months. To that end, Diogo Jota (£40m), Diaz (£37m rising to £55m) and Darwin Nunez (£64.1m rising to £85m) have all arrived in that time for hefty fees.
In addition, Liverpool also have their main main Mohamed Salah on board, while Roberto Firmino is also in good form this season.
The Brazilian’s deal is due to expire next summer and, in the wake of links to his boyhood team, his future has been revealed.
Keeping all six players happy is going to be a massive challenge for Klopp.
Jamie Carragher expects Liverpool to sell forward
Indeed, Carragher can forsee the scenario whereby at least one big name will be ushered out at Anfield.
The Sky Sports pundit has also expressed his surprise at the fee Liverpool have paid for Gakpo.
“I thought he [Gakpo] was going to be a little bit more expensive certainly when you look at what Antony cost, a similar profile of player and position, I thought it would be those type of numbers,” he said.
“It was a really good deal for Liverpool. Yes, you can look to next season and say, what will happen when Luis Diaz is back? Because he plays on the left wing, they will fight positions and if push comes to shove. And they can probably sell one of them if they can’t really fit them in.
“I think it’s a really good decision and really good signing.”
With Man Utd paying £85m for Antony, Carragher admits his surprise PSV let Gakpo leave for a more modest £45m.
He added: “If you look at his stats in Holland, you’d expect those types of numbers.
“We know the Eredivisie isn’t at the same standard as the Premier League. And there’s been a lot of hit and misses from the Dutch league coming in.
“But if you look at it, Liverpool have got Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in tonight on the left wing, that’s not really his position. The bench isn’t great in terms of attacking options.
“I think Luis Diaz is going to be out for two or three months, I don’t think Diogo Jota is going to be back anytime soon.
“So right now, I think he’s a great signing. The thing that has actually surprised me is the price.”
Who could Liverpool sell?
Of the six players at their disposal, it’s really hard to determine who they might sell. Klopp has made clear his desire to keep Firmino, while Salah too recently committed to a new deal. Of the six, the Egyptian is probably the only ‘untouchable’.
Jota will perhaps feel most concerned by the arrival of Gakpo. While the Portuguese has never let anyone down playing for Liverpool, he could now find himself relegated to third choice. That’s both on his favoured left side of attack and through the middle.
That said, the jury still remains out on Nunez. The Uruguayan was the most costly of the lot, but his performances -and record in front of goal – are yet to convince everyone. As such, the pressure will be on Nunez more than ever now to perform. Any drop off could well see him lose his place for good, once Liverpool have a full quota of options.
The next few months will certainly be interesting and the situation could come to a head by next summer.
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