Cody Gakpo's brilliant Euro 2024 continues his ascent in the footballing world

  • Cody Gakpo has been a talented forward for much of his career and he looks like he might be hitting his peak
  • His levels for the Netherlands during Euro 2024 have given confidence that he can take the next step at Liverpool
  • If Arne Slot can find the right position to play him, he could become an integral member of the attack
UEFA EURO 2024Romania v Netherlands
UEFA EURO 2024Romania v Netherlands / ANP/GettyImages

With 30 goals in the first 30 minutes and multiple clutch finishes in extra time, the European Championships this summer is on pace to be one of the craziest in the event's history.

After seeing Andy Robertson’s Scotland and Dominik Szoboszlai's Hungary being phased out from the group stage, the Kopites eventually showed pride as another Liverpool striker, Cody Gakpo, named himself in the scoring party.

Entering the in the 20th minute, Gakpo strode on the left flank and landed the ball perfectly that was delivered by Xavi Simons.

He kept the possession with steps closer to the net, slickly juking out the Romanian defender to create space.

Although the angle was too narrow to nail the ball in, Gakpo still rocketed it from the left post to the left corner without hesitation, setting up an early tune for Dutch.

Later, his teammate Jerdy Schouten set a piece in the right post, and Gakpo found the best spot for the late finish through his height.

Despite netting a disallowed goal, his prowess didn’t end. Gakpo eventually helped his nation secure the important victory in the Round of 16.

Cody Gakpo, Andrei Ratiu
Romania v Netherlands: Round of 16 - UEFA EURO 2024 / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Through a harder contact with Romania’s Radu Drăgușin, Gakpo miraculously retained the possession leaning the ball on the left bottomline, tapping it to Donyell Malen who finished at ease.

The versatility awarded Gakpo Man of the Match post-match, his second time in the tournament so far. After tallying three goals, he topped the ranking of goals, asserting himself as the most prolific attacker in the Dutch squad. 

The way to Fame

Horning his professional level at PSV Eindhoven, Gakpo demonstrated consistent improvement each season.

Being a 6’4’’ striker, Gakpo highlighted his offensive impact on the team through goals, assists, and key passes.

In the 2022-23 season, Gakpo surged domestically and internationally. He produced an encompassing nine goals with 12 assists. 

Cody Gakpo
PSV v RKC Waalwijk - Dutch Eredivisie / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

His ability to shoot convincingly with both feet, make clean contact with the ball, and strike with power is a significant strength.

Additionally, his technical ability and security on the ball in the left-half space makes him a formidable dribbler. He averaged 2.08 successful dribbles per 90 minutes in the same season mentioned before.

Before joining Liverpool to turn on his next chapter, Gakpo shined at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, scoring in three consecutive matches in the group stage, enabling himself to receive worldwide recognition before landing his talent in the Premier League with aura. 

Comparison: Liverpool vs. National Team

Despite managing 16 goals for Liverpool in a highly competitive Premier League last season, it’s obvious to notice that the initial transition for Gakpo wasn’t easy.

Gakpo exposed his weakness in reading the match and comprehending former manager Jurgen Klopp’s tactical mindset. Additionally, Gakpo's lack of explosiveness damaged his performance at higher levels.

The comparison is stark when we saw Gakpo playing with his country, moving freely on the left flank of the pitch with the ability to take on defenders.

Although Gakpo also had no exact idea about the potential reasons behind the scenes, the Netherlands’ manager Ronald Koeman believes that Gakpo is able to show effective productions in a wide position while playing for the national team and PSV Eindhoven.

His position under Klopp’s tenure, mostly central, suggests telling us why.

All in all, what I see from Gakpo is positive. Liverpool’s new manager Arne Slot, also from the Netherlands, is expected to place him to the left where Koeman thought Gakpo could threaten more.

Yet despite those shortcomings that need to be addressed, at least we can see Gakpo is regaining his confidence and revamping his match during the ongoing tournament in Germany.