The release of Liverpool’s lineup to face Brentford yesterday raised some eyebrows. The Reds started with Diogo Jota, Darwin Núñez, Mohamed Salah, and Cody Gakpo on the pitch. With all four players typically playing in the front three, fans were eager to see how the Reds would utilize all of them at once.
In the end, they played their typical 4-3-3 with Gakpo sliding back into the right side of the midfield three. While it was clear he was playing out of position, the Dutchman played well enough and really should have had a goal for his efforts, but he couldn’t get a solid touch on his chance in the 53rd minute.
Speaking to the press after the match, Gakpo admitted he didn’t mind playing in new roles because he was just happy to be on the pitch, especially for a win.
“I enjoy playing, for sure, and wherever I can help the team the most,” said Gakpo. “Sometimes it’s a little bit deeper in the midfield and sometimes in the striker position. I just enjoy playing with my teammates and especially when you win it’s way more fun!”
The match admittedly didn’t look like much fun for the Liverpool players at times. Referee Anthony Taylor called an unusually high number of fouls against the Reds, and the frustration over every call seeming to go against them was very clear. This was especially dangerous considering Brentford’s set-piece prowess, but Liverpool were equal to the task and didn’t allow the visitors to create many chances.
“It was really difficult because it looked like whenever we went for a duel we fouled them,” admitted Gakpo. “That’s a decision of the referee but it makes it really difficult to go into a challenge.”
“We managed to pull through and when they got a set-piece we were really sharp and we didn’t concede. That was good from our side.”
In the end, the Reds defended well enough to see out a 1-0 win fairly comfortably and run their winning streak to six games, a feat Gakpo was understandably pleased with.
“Job done, that was the most important thing. It was a tough game but we stuck together, worked really hard and pulled through. It was a massive win for us in a good period. The season is not over yet and we just have to stay focused and try to win the last three as well.”