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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Oliver Spencer

Michael Owen feels sorry for Liverpool striker who even Lionel Messi couldn't top

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has expressed his sympathy for latest Reds addition Cody Gakpo who has had a tough start to life on Merseyside.

Owen, who came through the Liverpool academy and wore the iconic Red shirt for the senior team between 1996-2004, knows exactly what it takes to succeed as a forward for the six-time European Champions.

Gakpo arrived at Anfield from his boyhood club of PSV Eindhoven earlier this month for an initial fee of £37million, which makes him PSV’s record sale. The Netherlands international represented his nation at almost every youth level before enhancing his already growing reputation at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, where he scored in three consecutive group matches.

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Since making the switch from his homeland to the Premier League however, the 23-year-old has slightly struggled to find his feet, and due to Liverpool’s significant injury troubles, he has been exposed a little more than Jurgen Klopp may have liked.

Speaking after Liverpool’s 0-0 stalemate against Chelsea, who are also experiencing a challenging season, Owen recognised the pressure placed on Gakpo and sympathised with the forward who is yet to emulate the form he displayed in recent months.

“I feel sorry for him actually because he’s coming into a team that are really inconsistent and drained of all the confidence that we’ve seen in the past,” Owen told Premier League Productions.

“He had a couple of half-chances [against Chelsea] and it’s clear he’s trying.

“I’m sure he’s going to be a good signing for the future, but at the moment, I would defy even Lionel Messi to come in and look good in this team because it’s really struggling.”

Gakpo, as well as his impressive goal and assist output, is known for his versatility and has often shown that he is equally comfortable playing anywhere across the front line and as an attacking midfielder.

Former England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips also offered up his support for the Dutchman, explaining: “I think he’s trying to make an impact on games and have an influence, but he’s in a struggling Liverpool team right now."

“When that confidence is up, that’s when we’ll see the real Gakpo. They need to be patient with him,” Wright-Phillips concluded.


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