Jack Grealish is widely regarded as one of the best players in the Premier League, and for good reason. The Manchester City star has been instrumental in his team’s dominance this season, scoring four goals and assisting eight more in 15 league appearances.
He has also dazzled with his dribbling skills, creativity and flair, earning him comparisons to some of the greatest players in history.
But Liverpool fans might argue that they have a player who is even better than Grealish, and who cost them a fraction of the $140 million that City paid for the England international.
That player is Cody Gakpo, who joined the Reds from PSV Eindhoven in January for a reported fee of $35 million.
Gakpo has been a revelation for Liverpool since his arrival, scoring six goals and setting up five more in 14 league games. He has also shown his versatility, playing on both wings and as a central striker when needed.
But what makes him stand out even more is his ability to draw fouls from opponents, creating dangerous free-kick opportunities for his team.
According to Opta, Gakpo has been fouled 24 times in the Premier League since he joined Liverpool, more than any other player in the squad. He ranks fourth in the league for fouls drawn per game (1.74), behind only Wilfried Zaha (2.55), Adama Traoré (2.36) and Grealish himself (2.33).
This means that Gakpo offers Liverpool something that Grealish offers City: a player who can disrupt the opposition’s defensive shape and rhythm with his dribbling and movement, forcing them to commit fouls and concede free-kicks in dangerous areas.
This is especially valuable for a team like Liverpool, who have some of the best set-piece takers in the world, such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.
Gakpo’s ability to win fouls was on full display in Liverpool’s 4-1 win over City at Anfield last month, when he tormented their right-back Kyle Walker throughout the game.
He drew four fouls from Walker, one of which led to Alexander-Arnold’s stunning free-kick goal in the first half. He also scored a goal of his own in the second half, after a brilliant solo run that left Pep Guardiola speechless on the touchline.
Guardiola knows how good Gakpo is, having tried to sign him for City before Liverpool swooped in. He praised him after the game, saying: “He is an unbelievable player.
He has everything: pace, technique, vision, finishing. He reminds me of Jack [Grealish], but he is even faster and stronger. He is a nightmare for defenders.”.
Liverpool fans will hope that Gakpo can continue his impressive form for the rest of the season, and help them challenge City for the title. They will also be glad that they have found their own version of Grealish, who offers Jürgen Klopp everything that the Englishman gives Guardiola and more for a fraction of the price.
Final Thoughts: Liverpool’s Gakpo a Valuable Asset
The arrival of Cody Gakpo at Liverpool has certainly made an impact. The Dutch winger has quickly established himself as a valuable asset to Jurgen Klopp’s side, thanks to his pace, technique, and versatility.
But perhaps his most notable attribute is his ability to draw fouls from opponents, creating opportunities for Liverpool’s set-piece specialists.
In this sense, Gakpo could be seen as a more cost-effective version of Jack Grealish, who has been similarly influential for Manchester City this season.
While Grealish is known for his dribbling and creativity, Gakpo’s ability to disrupt the opposition’s defensive shape and rhythm with his movement and dribbling is equally valuable.
Moreover, Gakpo’s willingness to play in different positions, including as a central striker, makes him a valuable squad player for Klopp. This was evident in Liverpool’s recent 4-1 win over Manchester City, where Gakpo’s ability to draw fouls from Kyle Walker and his solo goal left Pep Guardiola impressed.
While it may be premature to say that Gakpo is definitively better than Grealish, he certainly offers Liverpool a similar skill set at a fraction of the price.
Liverpool fans will undoubtedly be hoping that Gakpo can continue his impressive form and help them challenge City for the title.
Overall, Gakpo’s arrival at Liverpool has been a shrewd piece of business by the club’s recruitment team. He has quickly become a fan favorite, and his ability to win fouls and create chances is sure to make him a valuable asset for Klopp’s side in the coming months.