Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp pursued Cody Gakpo when it became clear he was available in January – although the forward was not part of their original plan.
Gakpo was an impressive performer for Netherlands at the World Cup and made the £45million switch to the Premier League earlier in January. PSV were open to offers and, despite interest from Manchester United, the Reds won the race for his signature.
The 23-year-old complemented a well-stocked forward line that includes club-record signing Darwin Nunez, who had only signed six months earlier. Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are also options, albeit some have been injured this term.
Liverpool’s poor season is down to a number of factors, but many have attributed the lack of a midfield recruit as a key issue. Klopp’s options in this area have largely remained the same over the years, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho still called upon.
Gakpo set the Reds back an initial £37m despite there being a general acceptance from the outside that a new midfielder was needed. Klopp chose to add another forward to his squad based on the belief that a pressing front three would assist the rest of the squad, according to the Daily Telegraph.
That has not turned out to be the case thus far, although the new signing has only played a few games. In January, Liverpool have won just one of their six games, losing on three occasions. Gakpo is a long-term investment, but the problems that surfaced earlier this season firmly remain.
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Klopp denied that Liverpool’s move for the Dutchman was motivated by injuries to key players in the final third. He told the club’s website: “We decided to do something from a sports point of view – without having the green light from the financial side already – months ago if you want, so two or three months ago.
“So that’s why it has nothing to do with that. But in the end that we could do it early, that might have been influenced. We worked on it and you never have a guarantee when you find an agreement or whatever, these kind of things”.
Liverpool’s prime target in the summer is Jude Bellingham, who is likely to leave Borussia Dortmund. His stock has continued to rise in Germany and a return to England has long been expected, with the likes of Manchester City also keen.
Real Madrid could offer another exciting option if they chose to join the race. Matheus Nunes at relegation-threatened Wolves is another target having previously been on the Liverpool radar last summer.