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Cody Gakpo sends Premier League warning after heeding Virgil van Dijk’s message



January signing Cody Gakpo beat his goalscoring duck for Liverpool against Everton in Monday night’s Merseyside derby as the Reds ended a horror run in the Premier League

Cody Gakpo insisted there was plenty more to come – from him and his team – after finally smashing his Liverpool duck in the derby.

The £45m signing in January had gone exactly 546 minutes without a goal or assist since moving to Anfield… finally smashing his duck in the best way possible to seal victory over bitter rivals Everton.

It was a goal that manager Jurgen Klopp later said was “that goal that all strikers dream of when it hasn’t happened for a while; really important,” acknowledged the Dutch World Cup star. “Guys who say they don’t mind not scoring are lying – so it was a really good moment for me and I’m really happy about it,” he explained.

“The dream is that you score from the first minute of the first game you play. In the end, I had to wait a bit but I’m really happy to have been able to score this goal in the derby.

Virgil (van Dijk) told me all about the derby and said it was going to be a big fight. He also reminds me that he scored his first goal against Everton – so it was an incredible moment for the team and for me.”

Gakpo came with a huge reputation after a thrilling World Cup, where he helped lead Holland to a quarter-final showdown, with eventual winners Argentina only losing on penalties after a draw spectacular.

But he suffered from the wait and the difficulty of integrating a team that was struggling when he arrived. Now that he’s rid of his back, he says the goal is simple for him and his team:

Cody Gakpo sends Premier League warning after heeding Virgil van Dijk's message

“The goal now (for me) is to score a lot more points. And this is the start of hopefully a few games in a row where we can take all the points and win.

“It’s really important to get the first win of the year. Everyone knew we were struggling a bit, but we know we have a lot of quality and we can turn things around and that’s the first step.”

The win changes the whole dynamic for a Liverpool side that seemed to have given up the fight for a top-four spot after a disastrous start.

Cody Gakpo sends Premier League warning after heeding Virgil van Dijk's message

They travel to Newcastle on Saturday knowing a win will leave them just six points behind the club, who are currently fourth in the table… and that Klopp’s side are one game short.

Gakpo knows his place is under pressure despite his goal as Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino have both returned from injury and Luis Diaz will join them soon. But he relishes the challenge and welcomes the return of this quality. “We all know what they can do on the pitch, so it just makes us stronger,” he stressed. “We have more options, more quality and more chances to win matches. That’s the most important thing at the moment, whatever helps us put together a winning streak.”