Cody Gakpo stung Manchester United for a second time with Liverpool goals after rejecting transfer
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Manchester United fans must have felt a horrible sense of inevitability when Cody Gakpo breached their side's defence after 43 minutes at Anfield.
Maybe it was destiny for the former PSV Eindhoven forward, who had come so close to joining United back in the summer, and flirted with an Old Trafford move again some months later before his Liverpool transfer.
United were faced with a choice between two Dutch-based wingers last summer, with Erik ten Hag keen to bolster his side's forward line.
It was either a move for Ten Hag's former Ajax player Antony, or PSV star Gakpo, with United choosing to spend more than £80 million on the Brazilian rather than go for the cheaper Gakpo.
Gakpo has since spoken openly about the saga, revealing his conversations with former United striker – and current PSV manager – Ruud van Nistelrooy about his future.
“To be honest, I spoke to him a lot about United in the summer when the transfer looked like it may be coming," Gakpo said. “But in the winter, not really. It was Ruud's wish that I went to a big club – and I think I have achieved that with Liverpool."
Liverpool came calling before the January window and gazumped United, who were again in the market for a new forward after Cristiano Ronaldo's acrimonious departure. In the end Ten Hag settled on a loan deal for Wout Weghorst.
WHAT A FINISH FROM CODY GAKPO 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/FsymQuFObF— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 5, 2023
Gakpo adds a THIRD with stunning finish past De Gea 🤯✅ pic.twitter.com/n6zPLlB7HF— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 5, 2023
As for Gakpo, he went a very long way to repaying the faith of Jurgen Klopp with his goals on Sunday.
The 23-year-old bent a fine effort beyond David de Gea to clinch the lead for Liverpool in front of a buoyant Anfield crowd on 43 minutes after a nip-and-tuck first half. He then made it 3-0 on 50 minutes after a rapid start to the second half for Jurgen Klopp's team.
“I heard about Liverpool's interest – and I think five days later the deal was done," Gakpo said of moving to Merseyside.
"As soon as I heard about the interest, the feeling was, 'come on, let's go'."
He will feel like the move, and his choice, has now been totally justified. Gakpo is the toast of Anfield now.