Press conferenceHow Gakpo can learn from Firmino but find his 'own way' in the No.9 role
Jürgen Klopp has explained how Cody Gakpo can learn from Roberto Firmino but find his 'own way' into Liverpool's No.9 role.
The Netherlands attacker has mostly led the Reds' front line since arriving from PSV Eindhoven in January, operating in the position so wonderfully occupied by Firmino for many seasons.
Gakpo has made a promising start to his career at the club, scoring five times in the Premier League, with Klopp believing he can bring his own personality and talent to that area of the pitch.
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The boss said: "If you watched international football over the last five, six years as a footballer and you love football, and if you are in a similar role, have a similar job to do in the game and you didn't pick up anything from Bobby Firmino, that would be a bad decision, to be honest. We play in public, so you can watch all the games.
"I think Bobby in this role is an inspiration for pretty much every player in a similar position, so that's clear.
"Cody is 23 years old, he was captain of his former club – I had no clue how that happens that early and then when he arrived here you realise, 'Ah OK, he's a super-smart kid, really open and a real team player' and stuff like this. On top of that, a really good footballer.
"He can play this position, can play wide, can play the centre. The real nine, a bit higher up, he can play that as well; double striker, can play that as well.
"So, he can create his own way there on the position, so it's not like we have to do it exactly [the same] because nobody can do it like Bobby, because nobody is Bobby.
"That means you have to find your own way and I think that's much more important. That's where Cody is up to.
"I thought Cody, since he's here, did exceptionally well. We didn't do that well – that for a new player is super-difficult. It's super-difficult to come into the team and it's not clicking. He did really well in that period. And now when we do better then obviously people maybe realise his performances, and that's it.
"But from the first day since he's here, he's a real joy to work with."
Meanwhile, Klopp confirmed during his pre-Nottingham Forest press conference that Firmino is set to miss Liverpool's next three matches with a muscle injury.
Later asked whether Firmino is expected to return before the end of the campaign, Klopp replied: "I really, really hope so and I think so as well."