Liverpool’s Malaysian fans cannot wait to see its new signing, Dutch World Cup star Cody Gakpo in the thick of it, hoping he will provide a similar spark to Luis Diaz, who joined the Reds a year ago.
Although Jurgen Klopp usually gives his new signings time to bed in, Diaz was an exception. He was thrown into the fray soon after signing from Porto in January.
The decision paid off as the Colombian created havoc, and now Gakpo could find himself in the starting line-up after completing his move on Sunday.
The attacking player can play on either wing, through the middle, or as an attacking midfielder. He scored 13 times and provided 17 assists in 24 Eredivisie games this season.
His move comes at the right time, as fellow forwards Diaz and Diogo Jota, are injured.
Another forward, Roberto Firmino, has a minor knock and missed the League Cup tie against Manchester City and the league game against Aston Villa in the last week.
Mohd Hazri Shihabuddin, 42, hopes Gakpo can bring out the best in Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan has shown plenty of heart and won plenty of praise, but has not scored as many expected.
“Gakpo is a good signing, but I wonder if this means the injuries to Diaz and Jota are worse than expected,” said the music director. Rumours persist that the duo can only return in March.
“I have faith in Nunez as he is creating havoc, but he needs to get his final touch right.
“He reminds me of Bobby (Firmino). Once he gets a goal or two, he will be a scoring machine.
“Perhaps Gakpo is the player Nunez needs, as he had plenty of assists in the Dutch league.”
Darren Wong, 40, said he feels Gakpo can be another ‘Luis Diaz’ – even though he does not know much about the Dutch international, who scored three times in the recent World Cup.
“To be honest, I only know about him because of the hype from my Manchester United supporting friends,” said Wong, a fitness trainer.
“They were convinced he was joining United, but from what they told me, he seems like a good player.”
Wong believes Gakpo can easily fit into the team, and expects him to make an impact as big as Diaz.
Another person excited by the signing is Helmy Abdul Halim. He said he cannot wait for Gakpo to link up with Nunez, Mohamed Salah, Jota, and Firmino.
He said they, plus Harvey Elliot, Fabio Carvalho, and Ben Doak, give the Reds plenty of attacking options.
“Liverpool needs to sort out its midfield. I think (Sofyan) Amrabat would be a good choice if Liverpool switches to a 4-2-3-1 system with two defensive midfielders,” said the 46-year-old businessman.
“(Jude) Bellingham and (Enzo) Fernandez are also linked, but I do not see Liverpool getting both of them.
“While Bellingham is more effective going forward, I feel Fernandez may fit better if Liverpool goes with two defensive midfielders.”
Liverpool is sixth in the Premier League after 15 games with 25 points, four behind Manchester United, and a further point behind Tottenham, which has played 16 matches.
Arsenal top the table with 40 points, followed by Manchester City (35) and Newcastle (33).
The Reds play Leicester tomorrow morning (4am) and Brentford on Tuesday (1.30am) before an FA Cup tie against Wolves on Jan 8 (4am).
FIXTURES (Malaysian time)
West Ham vs Brentford (3.45am)
Liverpool vs Leicester (4am)
Wolves vs Manchester United (8.30pm)
Manchester City vs Everton (11pm)
Fulham vs Southampton (11pm)
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace (11pm)
Newcastle vs Leeds (11pm)
Brighton vs Arsenal (1.30am)
Tottenham vs Aston Villa (10pm)
Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea (12.30am)