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Cody Gakpo on improvement aims, Man Utd rivalry and Van Dijk appreciation



Cody Gakpo is keen to continue improving his and Liverpool’s form as he prepares for his first taste of the rivalry with Manchester United.

The Dutch forward came off the bench and was involved in the team’s midweek move for the second goal in a 2-0 Premier League win against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Gakpo had already started every Reds game since joining from PSV Eindhoven in January, opening his goal tally with wins against Everton and then Newcastle United.

Now the number 18 is looking to help Jürgen Klopp’s side continue a top-flight streak that has racked up 10 points and consecutive clean sheets in their last four games.

And while this will be his first experience of clashes with United, he already has a strong sense of the enormous importance of the match for the club and the fans. That’s 10 points from the bottom 12 in the Premier League. Do you think Liverpool are now starting to make a real run forward?

Yeah, I think we had tough times before, but yeah, I think we got back together well and started winning games and really showing the quality we have in the team. Let’s continue like this.

This will be your first experience of a Liverpool vs Man United match. How much do you expect and what do you really expect from Sunday’s match?

Obviously it’s an important game for us, we need to find the three points, especially at home, to continue the path we’re on at the moment. It’s a great game, I think everyone knows that, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to playing this game.

How much do you know about the rivalry? How many times have you seen this game growing in the Netherlands? I know it’s a great rivalry. I watched the matches a lot, especially the big ones like this one, when I got back to the Netherlands. So I know some things, but yeah, I think it makes a big difference when you play them yourself.

After scoring against Everton and winning that match, you’ve already got an idea of ​​the extra excitement the fans, team and club in general get from these games, right?

Yeah, for sure. After that match you have already heard and seen how big this club is. It’s up to us, the players, to keep improving, to keep winning games, so that we can keep that feeling.

As for you, you’ve been here at Liverpool for almost exactly two months. How would you judge how you have performed so far?

I think it was a difficult start for the team when I came in, we didn’t get the results we wanted. So it was a bit difficult. And then it’s also more difficult for me to come in when it’s a bit difficult, but I think in the end the last games have been better as a team and then you see I’ve played better too and scored two goals. It’s a good feeling for me personally and I’m just trying to keep improving and helping the team where I can.

You’ve mentioned yourself, and the manager has mentioned several times, that you always need time to get used to your new teammates and the style of play. Do you also feel that’s coming? Yes, of course, the more you play, the better you know each other and how everyone moves. I think it gets better with every game I play too. So keep playing and improving and enjoy the game.

The competition for attacking positions seems to be getting stronger every week. Do you like and appreciate this additional fight for a place in the team? Yes of course. As you say, we enjoy it. I think that’s important to have and I think you end up putting each other in a better position to improve. So I think it’s a good thing and it’s also good for the team that we have more quality.

Finally, Virgil van Dijk was included in the FIFA FIFPro Men’s World 11 earlier this week. Were you delighted to see him there as someone who has played with him in two teams so far, even after his long injury?

Yes, I think it’s a great honor for him. I’m really happy for him because I see how hard he works in his free time when he was injured, when he came back to the national team – that’s where I really met him for the first time.

So I really saw what a good professional he was. Then at the World Cup and now here I see what kind of guy he is. So I’m really happy for him, he’s a really good guy. He also helped me a lot to get used to it.

For this I am very grateful to him but for the award I am very happy and I think he fully deserves it especially after a long injury