Gakpo Departs Dutch Squad Ahead of Vital France Fixture

Gakpo Departs Dutch Squad Ahead of Vital France Fixture

Liverpool winger Cody Gakpo is one of five players who have withdrawn from the Netherlands’ squad for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers.

The Dutch team will begin their effort to qualify for Euro 2024 with a match against France in Group B on Friday, followed by a match against Gibraltar three days later.

Also in the Netherlands’ group is the Republic of Ireland and Greece, though they will not play those sides until the summer international window.

Gakpo Forced to Withdraw Due to Illness


Gakpo played impressively for Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he scored three goals in three group games before the side were knocked out later in the tournament.

Yet, the Netherlands Football Association has confirmed that the 23-year-old is one of five players who have become ill this week, and he has withdrawn from his country’s March matches as a result.

Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman, Sven Botman, and Bart Verbruggen, who is reportedly admired by Liverpool, have also succumbed to a virus and will not participate in their next qualifiers.

Koeman has brought in three new players, Stefan de Vrij, Kjell Scherpen, and Ryan Gravenberch, to counteract the effects of the virus, but it appears that the Dutch manager has decided not to replace Gakpo.

The former PSV Eindhoven player has achieved six goals and two assists for the Netherlands in 14 games since making his debut against North Macedonia at Euro 2020.

Gakpo had a slow start at Liverpool, but he has scored four goals in nine Premier League games, including two against Manchester United in a 7-0 rout last month.

Gakpo’s Illness Could Mean More Bad News for Liverpool

While the forward will likely recover in time for the return of domestic play, Jurgen Klopp could do without more selection headaches, especially with Darwin Nunez’s injury-related withdrawal from the Uruguay team.

Midfielder Stefan Bajcetic was recently ruled out for the remainder of the season with an adductor injury, dealing a severe blow to Liverpool.

In addition to Bajcetic, right-back Calvin Ramsay will also miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury that required surgery.

Thiago Alcantara has been suffering with a hip injury for the past month and a half, while Luis Diaz was not nearly ready to return from knee surgery before the international break.

But, Thiago and Diaz could return within the month as they continue to rehabilitate during the international window, while Joe Gomez’s injury should not keep him out for too long.

Liverpool are sixth in the Premier League rankings, seven points behind the top four with two games in hand over Tottenham Hotspur. On April 1, their first game back after the international break will be at the Etihad against champions Manchester City.

The Merseyside club also face games versus league leaders Arsenal as well as a Chelsea side that have come back into form. Those fixtures could be definitive for the side’s hopes of finishing in the European places and securing Champions League football ahead of Spurs and Newcastle.

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