Cody Gakpo is relishing the chance to finally fulfil the dream he forged way back in 2018.
The £40m Liverpool January transfer capture is on course to make the first Champions League start of his career, after two goals in his last two games confirmed lift off at Anfield.
Gakpo has experienced the competition before, when he was still a teenager at PSV Eindhoven and had tasted just a single minute of senior football for the Dutch club.
He was plucked from the junior ranks to join the squad for the Champions League group game against Spurs…and in an eventful late introduction as a sub, saw Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris sent off, and his team equalise with three minutes remaining.
Since then, he has been itching to get back, to how himself on the biggest stage, and he said: “I think this is one of the biggest competitions in the world, so it is a dream for every player to play in this competition.
“For me to have that opportunity is a great one, and I am excited for it. I really want to prove I can perform at this level again, so I am looking forward to it.”
Gakpo couldn’t have better opponents, with a glamour tie against Real Madrid, and he couldn’t be in better form either, after opening his Liverpool account in the Merseyside derby.
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He followed that up with an important goal against Newcastle which confirmed the Reds return to form, and now he wants Jurgen Klopp’s side to show their intent against the Spanish giants.
“It was really important for us to show we are climbing back from a difficult period, eager to perform and will keep doing better,” he said. “Now we have to keep the intensity of the last two games.
“I think as a team we are ready, we want to perform, we want to win, especially at home, we want to go through to the next round, we have to be ready, and I feel we are.”