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‘Not Doing Well’: National Team Coach Criticises Liverpool and Suggests Signing ‘Moved Too Early’

Cody Gakpo dribbling past a defender

Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has said that new Liverpool recruit Cody Gakpo is struggling to find his feet in an underperforming team. The 23-year-old moved to Merseyside for £35 million in January. The newcomer has failed to score in six appearances for the Reds and Koeman has suggested that the winger moved to the Premier League too early in his career.

Ronald Koeman Says Cody Gakpo Is Struggling at Liverpool

Netherlands Manager Suggests Player Moved to Premier League Too Early

Speaking on Andy van der Meyde’s YouTube channel, Koeman stated that young Dutch players who move to bigger leagues sometimes find it difficult to adjust.

The 59-year-old pointed out that Ryan Gravenberch has not played regularly since moving to Bayern Munich. He also singled out Gakpo, arguing that the player had joined a Liverpool team who were not performing well, which was making it difficult for him to hit the ground running.

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The former Barcelona manager also believes that the current predicament could affect the young winger, and suggested that Gakpo should have made the move later in his career.

“You can see that, that he has ended up in a team that is not doing well,” Koeman said. “Then it becomes more difficult for him, as a new signing.

“You are tested right away. And if you don’t score or you’re not important and you don’t win any matches, it’s very difficult, especially for a young player. If that was someone aged 28 with experience, it would be different.”

Start to Life in Liverpool

Since moving from PSV Eindhoven to the Premier League, Gakpo has not shined as bright as fans might have hoped he would. The winger has made six appearances in all competitions for the Reds since the January transfer but has failed to score in any of those games.

It would be wrong to place all the blame on the Dutchman right now. Liverpool as a team have been poor in each of the three league games that the 23-year-old has played in. They have drawn one and lost the other two, with all their attackers struggling. And according to FBref, the Reds were expected to concede more goals than they were expected to score in each game.

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They have also possibly been guilty of not utilising their new signing as an attacker enough. He has averaged 26.8 touches per 90 in the Premier League so far but was averaging 56.2 in the Eredivisie for PSV.

Moreover, the winger has had just nine shots since joining Liverpool, but seven of those came in the goalless draw against Chelsea. In Liverpool’s league matches against Brighton & Hove Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Gakpo had just one shot in each game. It’s not as if he has failed to score several big chances.

Louis Van Gaal Praise

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While he might still be finding his feet in the Premier League, Gakpo still possesses immense quality. He was the leading goalscorer in the Eredivisie before the World Cup break with nine goals, he also had 12 assists to his name.

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He then went on to be one of the standout players in Qatar, scoring in each of the Netherlands’ World Cup group games. His impressive performances at club and international level put him on Liverpool’s radar and earned him high praise from Koeman’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal.

“Things can change but Cody has everything it takes to become a star,” van Gaal said. “He has a wonderful personality to become a star player because he is open-minded to anything and everything.”


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