Cody Gakpo: Virgil van Dijk commends "influential" Roberto Firmino


Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has paid tribute to the impact outgoing striker Roberto Firmino has had on the Reds attack

Roberto Firmino

48 hours after reports surfaced that Firmino has informed Liverpool that he would not be renewing his contract at the end of the season, the Brazilian came to score for the Reds.

Firmino, who started off the bench, scored the seventh goal of the 7-0 mauling of Manchester United on Sunday.

Virgil van Dijk who masterminded the clean  sheet believes the 31-year-old's mastery will be greatly missed when he finally leaves Anfield in the summer.

Van Dijk also believes new signing and international teammate Cody Gakpo has derived his recent intensity from learning  from the outgoing Brazilian.

Gakpo, 23, has made a slow start to life on Merseyside following his £37million move in the January transfer window, but was brilliant against Manchester United at the weekend.

The Dutchman's clean-cut goal before half-time sparked the Reds' historic defeat before netting an impressive second after the break. His performances impressed Anfield icon Jamie Carragher, who claimed the Netherlands international was a "revelation" to teams keen to sign him ahead of the January transfer window.

Van Dijk told the Liverpool Echo: “I think that position of a false 9 is Bobby Firmino’s. He is the one that showed over the years how difficult it is for any other player to perform it but also for others to defend that.

“As a player, you can’t deny how important he is for the success that we had; for Mo [Salah], for Sadio [Mane] in the past but also for the players that still are here, for example, in Cody [Gakpo] to learn from him each and every day. But as a human being as well, he’s a great guy and I wish him obviously all the best after the summer. But for now we still have targets to reach and he knows that and he wants to make sure that we fulfil that as well.

“He’s been so influential for this football club and he should definitely be remembered as one of the legends.”

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