Paul Merson shocked by £35m Liverpool star, says Klopp has to start him tomorrow
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Paul Merson shocked by £35m Liverpool star, says Klopp has to start him tomorrow

Jurgen Klopp simply has to continue to play Cody Gakpo as Liverpool head to Newcastle United tomorrow evening.

That’s according to pundit Paul Merson. Writing his Premier League predictions for Sportskeeda, Merson claimed that Gakpo’s much-improved display vs Everton means he should be a shoo-in at St James’ Park.

“Cody Gakpo looked like a different player after he scored his goal,” he said. “As a professional footballer, if there’s one thing you can bottle up and keep forever, it’s confidence. After Gakpo scored his goal, he was steaming past players. I’d play him this weekend alongside Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah.”

With both Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota now available, Klopp does have a decision to make in that regard. The Nunez/Gakpo/Salah combination looks like it’s starting to gain some understanding, though.

Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Whoever Jurgen goes with will play a crucial part in whether Liverpool can pick up three massive points on Tyneside. But regardless of his views on Gakpo, Merson thinks the Reds will have to settle for a point.

“Newcastle are a solid team, but they’re not winning many football matches. If Liverpool win this game, they’ve got every chance of making it into the Premier League top four. I think this game will end in a draw – it suits Newcastle, but it doesn’t suit Liverpool,” said the former Arsenal man, predicting a 1-1 draw.

Gakpo growing in confidence

Adding to what was a wholly positive night against Everton on Monday, Gakpo’s goal really put the cherry on the icing on the cake.

All of the front three who started that game were badly in need of a goal. But although Nunez will have to wait a little longer for one, it was perhaps Gakpo who was most in need of the confidence boost.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Now that’s he’s got on the scoresheet – and with a big goal to boot – we should see a different player.

During the early weeks of his Liverpool career, we haven’t seen too many signs of the player the Reds spent £35m on. Gakpo has been a little timid, a little unsure.

As he’s coming into a new team that’s been struggling badly, that’s hardly a surprise. It won’t be a coincidence that as soon as Liverpool start playing better on the whole, the Dutchman looks better individually. And vice-versa.

Another goal this weekend would be more than welcome. But even if he’s not providing goals, all we really need to see at this point is that Gakpo is gaining an understanding of what’s expected of him in this team. There were some definite signs of that on Monday. Hopefully those signs become even clearer tomorrow.

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