Liverpool are closing in on the signing of PSV Eindhoven starlet Cody Gakpo, sneaking in ahead of Manchester United to secure a deal.
Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield rebuild is continuing with another talented young forward, with the Reds now blessed with several options in attack.
How will Gakpo fit in on Merseyside? How will Klopp fit him, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and others into the same lineup?
Here are the different lineups Liverpool could utilise with Gakpo on the books.
Gakpo – Nunez – Salah
The most obvious solution with Diaz out for another couple of months or so would be to bring Gakpo in on the left (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s surprise start there on Boxing Day showed how that Liverpool need more options there).
Left wing is Gakpo’s natural position and where most of his many, many goal contributions for PSV have come from. With added technical quality coming from wide areas again, it could help Nunez maintain his chaotic – if not downright crazy – approach to playing up front.
Salah is still Salah. We don’t need to question his involvement in these lineups.
Diaz – Gakpo – Salah
When Diaz returns from injury, he has to come straight back into the first-choice XI. It’s not up for debate. He’s already a leading winger and looks capable of filling the void left by Sadio Mane over the next few years.
That will leave Klopp with a conundrum – should he persist with Nunez through the middle or give Gakpo a chance in a slightly unfamiliar role?
What works in the Dutchman’s favour is Klopp being the master of nurturing wide or withdrawn forwards into centre forwards, with Roberto Firmino, Jota and Mane his biggest successes.
Diaz – Nunez – Salah
Gakpo has played a fair bit of time in the hole while with the Netherlands, particularly at this winter’s World Cup.
Klopp has rarely utilised a formation with a number ten since leaving Borussia Dortmund, but if this would be an opportune time to return to the system, particularly with Liverpool looking stale at times this season.
Diaz – Gakpo – Nunez – Salah
Ah yes, the system for when things have gone horribly wrong and Liverpool desperately need a goal.
All cards on the table and it’s not a bad hand to have been dealt. Klopp will definitely try this at some point, don’t try and think that he won’t. Sorry to Jota for not including him in these lineups, but someone has to take the fall.