Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has tipped Cody Gakpo for a great future at Liverpool, but stressed that he will need time to adapt and develop.
Gakpo has largely impressed for Liverpool, having arrived from PSV in January 2023.
Though typically used out wide in the early stages of his career, the 24-year-old found success through the middle for the Reds and has even earned comparisons with Roberto Firmino for his link-up play.
The forward scored seven in 26 in all competitions in his first half season for the Reds, including a brace in the famous 7-0 win over Manchester United.
However, this season, Gakpo has been shifted between positions, starting Liverpool’s first two Premier League games of the season on the left of a midfield three, before moving up front for the trip to Newcastle.
READ MORE: Cody Gakpo’s positional change and other positives and negatives from Liverpool’s start to the season
He then started on the bench in the Reds’ most recent outing as they beat Aston Villa 3-0 at home before the international break, with Darwin Nuñez taking over as the preferred striker.
A mixed domestic start for the Dutchman has been followed by an impressive turn for his country, however, with Gakpo – who was used in a left-wing role – scoring in successive games for the Netherlands as they beat Greece and Ireland in September.
Speaking prior to the win over Ireland, Koeman was in no doubt over the forward’s ‘quality’ player, suggesting he simply needs time to adapt to the ‘intensity’ of English football to show his best form consistently.
“You have to understand that Gakpo is still a young player,” Koeman said. “When he first went to Liverpool, the team was struggling and that made it difficult for him to make a quick impact.
“If you join a team that is doing well, then you have a chance to come in when the moment is right, but Liverpool needed something quickly and that was tough.
“You have to give him that time to develop and to adapt to the Premier League because it’s a different level.
“I know from my time in England that the intensity is much higher than he used to play in Holland but he’s young and he will learn and he will be better, but he has a great future. You can see his quality.”
Speaking recently on his positional variations, Gakpo insisted that he is keen to develop his versatility to become a more ‘complete player’.
He said: “In the beginning it always takes some getting used to when you are in a different position, but then it is also important to pick it up quickly and show that I am versatile as a player. You just want to play and be of value, it doesn’t matter where.
“Developing myself in several areas also suits me as a person.
That’s how I am, and that also applies to my development on the field. That also reflects on how I am as a player, that it is important for me to become a more complete player.”