Jurgen Klopp rejected suggestions Cody Gakpo‘s brace against LASK might have moved him ahead of Darwin Nunez in his pecking order, insisting he will need all of his forwards in the gruelling festive period.
Gakpo offered a reminder of his qualities as he scored twice and hit the post to help the Reds to a 4-0 victory that sent them through to the Europa League knockout stages.
Thursday’s game gave the Dutchman a rare chance to shine in the centre-forward role, with his outings there having been restricted of late thanks to the emergence of Nunez as Klopp’s preferred option.
However, when asked if Gakpo may have changed that status quo given the impressive nature of his performance, his manager replied: “No, it is not about that, the boys don’t have to convince me in the games.
“This is my squad, this my team, and they play. If somebody is not in extremely awful shape and you think, ‘my God what is going on with him?’ – and that didn’t happen for a long, long time – then we just decide for the game and these kind of things.
“This is the most intense period in world football coming up now, that’s how it is, for all the teams. So they will all play.
“We have already Diogo not in so that is not helpful, and so we have to share these minutes with different players. They have to perform, not always 90 but 60/70 and full throttle, that’s how it is.
“Darwin is in a top moment and that didn’t change. [He is] super important for us and that he didn’t start [vs. LASK] has nothing to do with anything else.
“Now Cody scored twice, fantastic, does that mean he has to play the next five games in a row? Other players score as well, it’s not about that, and Cody doesn’t expect that.
“They have to score, that’s the job, that’s what they want, but it’s not that I now have sleepless nights and don’t know how to start. It’s not that much [of] a choice, to be honest.”
So far this season, Gakpo has six goals and one assist, while Nunez has contributed seven times on the scoresheet and has six assists.