Cody Gakpo has explained what Jurgen Klopp said to his Liverpool players after their 4-1 defeat against Manchester City last weekend.
The Reds were heavily beaten despite going ahead at the Etihad Stadium. The scoreline demonstrated both City’s dominance on the day and the current gulf in class between last season’s title rivals. A dispiriting day for everyone of a Liverpool persuasion. No doubt about that.
And speaking to The Athletic yesterday, Gakpo revealed that Klopp had acknowledged as much. The Dutch forward said that the manager outlined the importance of his players sticking together in such difficult moments.
“The message from the manager [at the Etihad] was that we had to stick together, we had to keep going,” Gakpo said after Tuesday’s draw with Chelsea. “Everyone knows it’s been a difficult time but if we all stay together then I know things will turn for us.
“Getting that point [against Chelsea] has to be seen as a small step in the right direction. Obviously, we wanted the win but in the end it’s something to build on.”
Family feel deserts Liverpool
It’s all well and good Liverpool’s manager talking about sticking together, but we need to start seeing some results that his team are listening.
Right now, they don’t look like a group that believe in each other. And as Jordan Henderson’s little altercation with Alisson on Tuesday showed, this isn’t a team as together as it once was.
At their very zenith, Klopp’s Liverpool were a unit that resembled a family more than a team. All players appeared comfortable in each others company, and that really translated out onto the pitch.
More recently, that family feel has gone. The players no longer look as though they’ve been playing together for the years that they have. Or rather, they do, but in the sense that things have been allowed to go stale. They looks as though they’ve been together a little too long.
There’s no easy way for Jurgen to magically bring that sense of togetherness back. Obviously, the best way to do it is by winning on the pitch. But as Liverpool are continually proving, that’s easier said than done.
As a new player, Gakpo must be wondering a little what he’s walked into. But if the Reds are to get their mojo back between now and the end of May, it’s crucial that players old and new get back with the program. The 23-year-old seems to be open to that message. Now it’s time for some of his teammates to do the same.