Liverpool accused of buying Gakpo to spite Man Utd as two issues named

Jurgen Klopp speaks about Cody Gakpo joining Liverpool

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Liverpool have been accused of paying a potential £50million fee for Cody Gakpo purely to spite rivals Manchester United, as both clubs were linked with a January move for the World Cup star. Erik ten Hag’s side were reportedly interested in bringing the Dutchman to Old Trafford as they look to replace Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, Liverpool were able to close a deal for the PSV man ahead of United and add him to their current crop of forwards, though Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz are expected to be sidelined until February.

Gakpo scored in each of the Netherlands’ group stage games in Qatar in addition to nine goals and 12 assists in the Eredivisie this campaign, but Arsenal icon Paul Merson has questioned Liverpool’s intentions behind the move amid a glut of Liverpool attackers, and money potentially taken away from possible midfield reinforcements.

“Liverpool are signing Cody Gakpo, but they should have signed some midfielders,” Merson wrote in the Daily Star. “Will he even play? When everyone is fit I think he’ll be fifth choice for them in the forward areas. Liverpool have gone top-heavy up front but their midfield is short. They have so many attacking forwards but I don’t think their midfield is good enough.

“When they’re all fit, they have got [Mohamed] Salah, [Darwin] Nunez, Diaz, Jota, [Roberto] Firmino and now Gakpo up front, but only three can of them can play. It feels like a ‘Stop Manchester United’ signing really. United were trying to get him too and this stops them from doing that. But Liverpool need a central midfield player badly in my opinion.

“They don’t have enough quality in there and they don’t have enough legs either. They don’t dominate in the midfield areas the way they used to. When they do that, the full-backs have the freedom to roam. Now they can’t. Salah and Nunez are going to start. So before you know it you’ve got four other forwards vying for one or two places in the team. They won’t all be injured forever.”

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Gakpo is likely to make his debut in the FA Cup third round against Wolves on January 7, but is set to have a run of games on the left wing alongside Nunez and Salah. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has started both of Liverpool’s Premier League games against Aston Villa and Leicester, but the new boy could take his place in the team.

ESPN have claimed that if it was Liverpool’s plan to frustrate United in the transfer window, then they were successful as they claim that Ten Hag has told the club’s hierarchy that he is unhappy that Gakpo did not move to Old Trafford.

The report claims that an official United bid was not made as they felt that the Red Devils could not match Liverpool’s financial package.

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