‘Listen to me!’ – Virgil van Dijk has supportive words of advice for ‘exceptional’ Liverpool gem
Virgil van Dijk has been singing the praises of one Liverpool teammate while also imploring him to heed his advice.
The Dutchman was joined at Anfield in the winter by international colleague Cody Gakpo, who’s already shown he looks capable of filling the centre-forward void left by the departing Bobby Firmino.
The 31-year-old has been delighted with what his younger compatriot has demonstrated during his first few months with the Reds, although he’s urged the attacker to remain grounded.
Van Dijk said (via 90min): “I think it’s a very, very difficult role to play and I think Cody’s doing exceptional. He’s still learning, still adapting.
“In my opinion, Bobby has been one of the best in this role. Cody, it’s his first six months and he’s already doing so well, so that’s a positive sign and he has to keep going, keep both feet on the ground, and listen to me!”
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Gakpo has plundered a respectable tally of six goals and three assists in his first 20 Premier League games (Transfermarkt), a return which ought to have been higher only for his strike against Aston Villa on Saturday to be harshly disallowed – ironically for a contentious offside call against Van Dijk.
The quality of his finishing has also stood out, not least with his delightful dink over David de Gea for his second goal in the 7-0 demolition of Manchester United in March.
His overall play has seen him rank third among Liverpool’s squad for WhoScored‘s performance metrics with 7.03, behind only Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold, while no Reds player has been fouled more times per match (1.7) than the Dutchman.
There are myriad examples of forwards who rip up the Eredivisie only to subsequently struggle in the Premier League, but the early signs indicate that Gakpo will make the transition more smoothly than most.
Firmino’s departure offers the 24-year-old the opportunity to truly nail down his place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI over the coming years, and he could do a lot worse than take on board any advice from a former PFA Player of the Year in Van Dijk!
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