Jurgen Klopp has quietly made his most difficult Liverpool signing yet

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Jurgen Klopp has quietly made his most difficult Liverpool signing yet

Had Leeds United got their way back in September, the sight of Cody Gakpo tapping into an open net at Elland Road would have prompted an altogether different response from the travelling Kop on Monday evening.

Leeds were one of several clubs pursuing the forward, their interest going as far as director of football Victor Orta jetting out to Eindhoven to attempt to thrash out a deal with PSV on deadline day. But with Dutch side playing hardball, the plug was pulled on the transfer just as Leeds were preparing to fly Steel and his entourage to England.

Fast forward a few months and the landscape had changed, Leeds out of the picture as Manchester United, one of the other long-term suitors of Gakpo, contemplated agreeing a move for a player who had shone for Holland at the World Cup.

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That, then, is when Liverpool struck, ultimately agreeing a £44million deal for Gakpo over Christmas that was confirmed on Boxing Day.

True, there was some surprise it wasn’t a midfielder being recruited in the January window – and we all know how that pursuit is panning out – but, in terms of future-proofing the Liverpool attack, it seemed a canny move, particularly with Roberto Firmino approaching the end of his time at Anfield.

Unfortunately for Gakpo, he was thrown into a Liverpool side suffering an alarming post-World Cup dip in form, having to wait until his seventh outing to break his goalscoring duck in the 2-0 home derby win over Everton in February, a strike not too dissimilar to his tap-in from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross from the right on Monday.

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