Liverpool battled past Fulham 2-1 in the Carabao Cup Semifinal 1st-leg on Wednesday. It wasn't pretty but the Reds got the job done in the end.
The winning goal was scored by a familiar face in this competition, Cody Gakpo. The Dutchman has scored in every match Liverpool have played in this tournament. He has been the driving force when big names have not featured or played well.
That equates to four goals in four matches with the Carabao Cup patch on his arm. In his 23 other matches, he has notched 5 goals and 3 assists.
This is not an indictment of Gakpo, but more a look at how he can carry over his League Cup form into more regular action.
A major contributing factor of course has been Jürgen Klopp rotating the squad for these matches. As a result, he has been allowed more freedom and playing time then he normally sees.
However, I don't think it is just a matter of getting him in the lineup, although that clearly helps. I believe a lot of it comes down to his confidence. When Klopp tells Cody that he is leading the line that night he absolutely plays with more flair and verve.
When he plays alongside the likes of Mo Salah, he defers to the Egyptian. Gakpo clearly has technical abilities on the ball as he has shown an ability to create chances for himself even while standing in place.
When he is representing the Netherlands he has an extra level to his game that we sometimes don't see very often at the club level. His performances at the World Cup helped drive his move to Anfield.
He needs to trust himself and his abilities that are clearly there. Perhaps this will come with time, but if he can elevate his game to keep this scoring touch in any competition, it will be a coup for the Reds. His versatility in the attack is a big weapon as well.
Whether he is on the wing or through the middle, Gakpo can create for himself or others. The failed experiment with him in the midfield earlier this season was not his fault, but more a product of circumstance.
With Liverpool competing on four fronts, it is vital to their overall success if more than the main guys step up. So, Cody Gakpo shouldering the load in the League Cup is a bonus for the side.
The next step for him to reach a new level in his game, is to make every competition "his". Let's see if he can make it happen.