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Van Nistelrooy singles out ‘sharp’ Liverpool star for praise after adapting ‘quickly’ to new level



Former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has praised Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo after the Champions League defeat.

Jurgen Klopp’s side got off to a good start against Real Madrid but fell short in the second half in a 5-2 loss.

Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah had given Liverpool a 2-0 lead after just 14 minutes at Anfield.

Gakpo started the evening as Liverpool’s number nine and Van Nistelrooy singled out the 23-year-old for his praise.

“I thought Cody [Gakpo] would be strong,” Van Nistelrooy told De Telegraaf. “Like all of Liverpool in the first 20 minutes. They blew Real Madrid away and Cody was strong.

“He had some great moments saving the ball, he played the ball wide and moved well. Cody also had a few substitutions after losing the ball, winning the ball back and looking very sharp.

But that was also the case against Newcastle United and in the derby against Everton. You can see that he adjusts to that level quickly.

Jurgen Klopp orchestrated Liverpool 'swap' as Dutch icon could err on Cody Gakpo

There has been some discussion as to which position is better than him, but Klopp has had some luck trying him out as number nine lately.

Gakpo has scored in his last two Premier League games for Liverpool and has been used in the center in each of those games.

Liverpool have had major problems this season, but Gakpo’s good form should be a sign of optimism for Klopp and his team.

Jamie Carragher wasn’t so sure about the Gakpo deal, however, as he said the Dutch forward was not a typical Klopp signing.

Jurgen Klopp orchestrated Liverpool 'swap' as Dutch icon could err on Cody Gakpo

“Up front, [Luis] Diaz has made a brilliant start to his Liverpool career, but Nunez is a work in progress and I am amazed watching Gakpo’s early performances,” Carragher explained. “Gakpo is not a typical Klopp signing, he lacks incredible speed and the ability to drive a high press.

“Why spend up to £45m on someone sitting on the bench when Diaz and Diogo Jota are fit? Especially when another part of the squad needed reinforcements?”

Carragher has compared Gakpo and his style to that of Roberto Firmino and maybe that’s where Liverpool can get the best out of him.

“I just think when I look at Gakpo his profile seems to be more like Firmino than other wide players who have a breakneck pace to chase,” the pundit told Sky Sports.

“Could that really be what we saw tonight, where Nunez is way further to the left and Gakpo is really playing into that gap? “His biggest strength, having watched him those first few weeks, is actually on the ball. When the ball goes into his feet, you don’t feel like he’s going to lose it.”