Man of the Match: Fulham 1-3 Liverpool

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Fulham 1 – 3 Liverpool – PL Man of the Match

Cody Gakpo

In a season where Liverpool has at times been a destructive attacking force, many of the moving parts within the forward line stable have been subjected to questions and criticism this season. To be fair, many of the criticism has been very much deserved, yet it is still a huge task to replace and thus replicate the world class endeavours of their predecessors.

In Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino, there was legitimately world class levels that once enabled everything in football to be won. From that legendary attacking trio of yesteryear, only Mohamed Salah remains and even this asset may end up being the last Anfield campaign for the world class Egyptian captain.

Gakpo’s Journey So Far

A couple of winter transfer windows ago, Cody Gakpo was brought into this historical football club, in order to be the steadying striker that could connect the midfield to attack and offer the reliability that Bobby was enabled. Darwin Núñez was already in-house and underwhelming in a sporadic and unsure first season, therefore a Christmas decision was made to bolster the options.

Photo: IMAGO

The capture of the PSV forward was a surprise, given his preference of working from the left side. Despite excelling in that initial first half season, it was largely in a central position, within a new hybrid formation that seemed to baffle many a team at the back end of that year. This year, however, the Dutch forward has failed to nail down an actual position and establish himself within the first team elite.

Ups and Downs

Having amassed 14 goals and 5 assists in this largely successful team season, it was within the Premier League fixture list that the marmite like attacker was continuing to struggle to score or assist. The odd moments aside, there was little sign that the 24-year-old could offer more than a bit part role between now and the end of this 2023/24 campaign, until this last couple of games.

Today against a solid enough Fulham side, the €40m signing was powerful and forward thinking, with a desire to drive his team forward. The link up play and powerful running was evident throughout, as he crept from the left to the central areas at will. The overall impact was telling and the assist for Diogo Jota deserved.

In this end of season charge for ultimate glory, there was always going to be two or three players that needed to step up their individual games, as the elite assets started to flag under the weight of expectation. At Craven Cottage on this sunny Sunday afternoon, Cody Gakpo was the player his manager pleaded with him to be, which was a man that guided his team to a previous three points. The fanbase is demanding, though that is merely the consequence of playing for one of the world’s most famous and successful clubs.

Next stop Goodison Park and an encounter with local Everton, where a win could send the fanbase into delirium.

Pre-match Prediction:

Fulham 1 – 2 Liverpool

Steven Smith

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