Liverpool hit with injury setback as star pulls out of Netherlands squad with illness
Cody Gakpo has been forced to withdraw from the Netherlands squad due to illness, just weeks before Liverpool faces Arsenal and Chelsea.
The forward was called up alongside Liverpool teammate Virgil van Dijk for international duty, with Holland set to begin their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
Ronald Koeman’s team travels to France on Friday night before hosting Gibraltar the following day on Monday.
Gakpo was expected to lead the line again alongside Memphis Depay and Wout Weghorst after starring for his country at the 2022 World Cup, scoring three goals as they reached the quarter-finals.
However, it was announced on Thursday that five members of the squad had been forced to withdraw due to illness.
‘Sven Botman, Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman, and Bart Verbruggen left the Dutch national team training camp this morning,’ according to a statement.
‘They have a virus infection,’ says the doctor.
‘National coach Ronald Koeman calls on three replacements for Oranje’s first European Championship qualifier against France: Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich), Kjell Scherpen (Vitesse), and Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan).’
In some ways, Gakpo’s absence from international duty may be good news for Jurgen Klopp, who is hoping to keep as many of his squad as fit and fresh as possible as Liverpool pushes for a top-four finish.
Klopp has already received a boost with the absence of Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino, and Trent Alexander-Arnold from the squad.
The Reds are currently sixth in the table, seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, but they have two games in hand.
Klopp, on the other hand, will be hoping that Gakpo is fully recovered when the season resumes, with Liverpool’s first three games against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal.
After a slow start, the Dutchman has settled in at Anfield after joining from PSV in January, scoring four goals in his last eight games.