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Liverpool analysis – Cody Gakpo shows Darwin Nunez problem as transfer reality becomes clear



Ian Doyle’s analysis after Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth round defeat by Brighton

Gakpo improves when Nunez’s problem is solved

Thus continues the gradual revelation of Cody Gakpo as a Liverpool player.

The Dutchman has so far failed to make the immediate impact that made Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez all instant favorites with the fan base.
To mitigate, none of them joined a squad that was quite in a state of flux, as the Reds are currently experiencing. And Gakpo, who is playing here for the fifth consecutive time since joining from PSV Eindhoven earlier this month, has been affected.

Liverpool already bought Europe's top finisher as Cody Gakpo pointed out Darwin Núñez problem

However, there were some clear hints as to why Liverpool made a move for the 23-year-old, even though he clearly crashed during the closing stages. Gakpo again played in a central position, improving his hold-up game and the Dutchman was more than willing to dive deep and help the midfield defence, mirroring the contribution of Roberto Firmino whose initial small problem the has now sidelined for nine games.

And from such positions, Gakpo could run towards the Brighton defense and create the greatest danger, inserting Harvey Elliott with a pass and drawing a warning from Lewis Dunk after a powerful and clean run.
However, it is curious that after the introduction of Darwin Nunez, he remained in the middle, especially when he passed out late. Nunez wasn’t close enough to threaten and Klopp admitted the Uruguayan still had to carry out his defensive duties. Perhaps a refocusing of the attack will be needed if Nunez is recalled. This is not how a proud afternoon should end for Andy Robertson.
The left-back became the 22nd captain to lead Liverpool off the pitch after receiving the armband from Jordan Henderson and James Milner in the absence of Virgil van Dijk and the bench.

As for the squad’s ‘top group’, it has been revealed that the Scotland international is next ahead of Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Robertson frustration but Trent suffers

Robertson’s usual forays forward were limited until the second half as he instead focused on nabbing Solly March, who netted twice against the Reds two weeks ago. But a decent performance was marred by the hastily challenged Alexis Mac Allister, who called on referee David Coote to award the free-kick from which Brighton scored their late winner. On the other hand, Alexander-Arnold struggled again with Kaoru Mitoma, but not as damaging as earlier this month.
However, the right-back was unimpressed to be hooked before the hour mark, shaking his head as he trotted past Klopp and showing a face of thunder as he sat on the bench.
With James Milner taking a decent half-hour stint as a substitute, Alexander-Arnold now finds himself in a real fight for a regular starting spot. How he reacts determines what happens next.

The reality of transfers hits the reds

Liverpool are now struggling to hold on to even the vaguest positive statistics of an increasingly torturous season. Having won all 12 games this season by scoring the opener, the Reds collapsed to defeat for the first time since their 3-1 Premier League defeat at Leicester City in February 2021.
That leaves only one concern for Klopp and his players this season – the Champions League, both winning this year and securing qualification for next season. Current form suggests either would require a Herculean effort, beating 2020/21 third place.

And despite the constant rumors swirling long before the January window opened, Klopp reiterated shortly after the final whistle that there would be no more arrivals this month. No new midfielder, no one. The trials and tribulations of Liverpool during this period and the myriad reasons are well documented. Now the players themselves and the coaching staff will have to roll up their sleeves, bang their heads together and find a way out of the ongoing malaise. No one else comes to help.