Cody Gakpo didn’t have the easiest start to life at Anfield. When he signed with Liverpool in January, they were in the midst of a bit of a crisis. Most of the forwards on the roster were injured, and the team wasn’t playing well by any measure. Gakpo was forced into minutes almost immediately, and he understandably struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League without adequate time to learn and adjust to a new team in a new country.
With injured players slowly starting to return to the lineup and the team playing more cohesively, Gakpo is now getting more opportunities to make his mark and show what he can do, and he has taken advantage in his last few outings. He scored his first goal in a 2-0 win over Everton after going scoreless in his first six appearances. Then, he bagged another as the Reds took down Newcastle five days later.
The recent performances have caught the eye of Ruud van Nistelrooy, who managed Gakpo at PSV Eindhoven, and he was full of praise for the 23-year-old in an interview with Dutch outlet De Telegraaf.
“I thought Cody was strong”, van Nistelrooy said of Gakpo’s performance in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League. “Just like all of Liverpool in the first twenty minutes. They were blowing away Real Madrid and Cody was strong.”
“He had some great moments with the ball at his feet, playing the ball to the side and moving well. Cody also had a number of recovery moments after losing the ball, where he won the ball back and looked very sharp.
“But that was also the case against Newcastle United, when he scored his first goal, and in the derby against Everton. You can see that he quickly adapts to that level.”
The interview came in conjunction with Gakpo returning to PSV to receive a farewell from his former club on Thursday evening. The young forward amassed 55 goals and 50 assists for the Dutch club in just 155 appearances, including 13G and 17A this season before his move to Liverpool. To thank him for his contributions, PSV welcomed Gakpo back to be honored at halftime of their 2-0 Europa League victory over Sevilla.