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‘We didn’t need Virgil van Dijk to convince Cody Gakpo, it was a home run,’ says Jurgen Klopp

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Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool acted quickly to secure Dutch international Cody Gakpo before he became an “unaffordable” 40-goal-a-season striker.

The Liverpool manager sensed Gakpo’s eagerness to move to Anfield as soon as he held talks with the 23-year-old and suspects the club has secured a bargain with a fee for the ex-PSV Eindhoven star which may rise to £45 million (€51m).

“He is a young player with a lot of potentials,” said Klopp. “If he would have already been scoring 40 goals in Spain or whatever he would be unaffordable.

“With these kinds of things, it’s all about timing, getting these boys at the right moment that they didn’t already score 55 goals per season and stuff like this. That’s why we were convinced.

“He could always make the next step, and that makes it interesting. We believe in our process. When players come here – especially offensive players – they have all made a step forward because of the way we work and the way we can help them. That makes it massively interesting.”

Liverpool were able to pounce despite Manchester United making all the early running in pursuit of Gakpo.

Klopp confirmed Gakpo was a long-term target, but circumstances prompted an official approach on Christmas Eve and the swift conclusion of negotiations.

Klopp said: “When I was allowed to speak to him it was one of those nice moments when you are manager of Liverpool FC. You think you have to convince someone and then you realise the door is wide open so it’s more or less a home run. It was cool then. We didn’t need Virgil (van Dijk) to convince him.

“He’s a really, really good player and the package was really interesting. The age he is, the potential he has, the quality he has shown already in Holland and with the national team as well. It is big for us, really big for him as well, so it’s cool, he’s delighted about joining us.

“The position he played most often is the left wing but he can play in different positions up front. If you play a 4-2-3-1 he can play all four positions. If you play 4-3-3 he can play the wing and 4-4-2 he can play on the wing and the striker position.”

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