How can Liverpool bring Cody Gakpo's Netherlands form to Anfield?

Liverpool and Arne Slot will be eager to channel Cody Gakpo's international form back at Anfield when the new season begins.
Netherlands v Austria: Group D - UEFA EURO 2024
Netherlands v Austria: Group D - UEFA EURO 2024 / BSR Agency/GettyImages

I've previously discussed the relationship between a player's club form in comparsion to their national team form. This could mean that one player plays well for club but struggles internationally, or vice versa and finally, for some players it falls somewhere in the middle.

Today's focus is going to take a look at Cody Gakpo, who is once again shining for the Netherlands at Euro 2024.

As a result of his fine form, I began wondering how Arne Slot and Liverpool can best bottle this and make sure he can replicate it at Anfield to the best of his abilities.

Cody Gakpo excelling for Holland put him on Liverpool's radar

Gakpo was one of the best players at the 2022 World Cup where he scored some outstanding goals cutting in from the left-wing and it was these performances, combined with his PSV form, that truly put the big clubs on notice.

Liverpool would be lucky enough to cash in and bring him over in a Janurary transfer. The first portion of this is important, he was excelling on the left-wing.

Gakpo was playing with a confidence in the Oranje shirt of his country that he has yet to fully display while at Liverpool on a consistent basis.

His level for the Netherlands has only gotten better in the ensuing two years and this will be no secret to Slot, a fellow Dutchman either. He will be well aware of the great work Cody has done in the Eredivisie and for the national team.

His role is different for the National Team

As I briefly mentioned above, Gakpo has a clear and defined role for Holland. He is the left winger that gets on the ball and drives at defenses and cuts in when possible to attack goal and create for others.

He does this very well as there is usually more space to operate at the international level as opposed to the club game.

Cody Gakpo, Patrick Pentz
Netherlands v Austria: Group D - UEFA EURO 2024 / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

While at Liverpool, he has played in a whole host of positions under Jurgen Klopp. We've seen him out wide on both flanks, as a false-9, spearhead of the attack and he even played as a left-sided central midfielder briefly to disastrous results.

That inconsistency in his role in the squad along with varying expectations based on where he plays, it's no wonder he's had issues stringing together good outings.

With the Dutch, he knows exactly what is demanded of him on the left side and he approaches each match with so much more belief. He did finally get a run of games as the center forward for Liverpool to end the season where he did play well, but it remains to be seen if that was just a nice stretch.

Liverpool will need to adjust to maximize his talents

Back home, what can Slot and his staff do to make sure Gakpo carries over this high level? Well, first and foremost they must pick a defined spot for him and let him get a proper run at that one aspect.

Whether that comes as a center-forward or on the wing remains to be seen, but he needs this clear definition to truly thrive. With all of the links of a possible Luis Diaz departure this summer, Gakpo could be an in-house readymade replacement.

He has size, pace and underrated skills on the ball that he would do well as a winger in a 4-3-3 or on the left in Slot's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Cody Gakpo, Rayan Ait-Nouri
Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Positional versatility is a good thing as it means a player has ability in a lot more areas of the game. However, that typically means we see a player's ceiling capped slightly until they find a defined role with Alexis Mac Allister and Harvey Elliott being two examples in the squad.

If Gakpo can play for the Reds like he does for the Netherlands, that would go a long way to unlocking his next level and possibly the likes of Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai around him as well.