“He was just everywhere” - Liverpool ace Cody Gakpo names ex-Chelsea star as his toughest ever opponent

West Ham United v Liverpool FC - Premier League
West Ham United v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Liverpool attacker Cody Gakpo has named former Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva as his toughest ever opponent. Gakpo joined the Merseysiders in January 2023 and came up against Silva in one of his first games for the Reds.

The Reds faced Chelsea in the Premier League at Anfield on January 21, 2023, and the two teams played out a 0-0 draw. Gakpo started up-front for Liverpool while Silva played as the central centre-back in a back-three for the visitors.

Speaking about the Brazilian defender, Gakpo told ESPN (via Metro):

"He (Thiago Silva) was one of my first games here at Liverpool. He was just really smart, he's a little bit older now, but yeah, a very class defender, really smart, thinking a few steps ahead."

Gakpo added:

"I don't even know if I got in a physical duel with him, but he was just there, everywhere."

Silva is one of the finest defenders of the modern era. The Brazilian centre-back recently left Chelsea and has rejoined his boyhood club Fluminense. Apart from the Blues, Silva played for AC Milan and PSG during his time in Europe. He has also had a stellar career with Brazil's national team.

Gakpo, meanwhile, has become a key player for Liverpool. He has so far made 79 appearances for the Merseysiders, scoring 23 goals and providing nine assists. In 2023-24, Gakpo scored 16 goals and provided six assists in 53 appearances across competitions.

Both Liverpool and Chelsea will play in Europe next season

In 2023-24, Liverpool played in the UEFA Europa League while Chelsea weren't involved in any European competition. The Reds have qualified for next season's UEFA Champions League, courtesy of their third-placed finish in the Premier League this season.

The Blues, on the other hand, managed a sixth-place finish in the league after a spirited end to the domestic campaign. They were slated to participate in the Europa League next season but were demoted to the Conference League as a result of Manchester United winning the FA Cup against Manchester City.

Both teams will have new managers at the helm next season. The Merseysiders will start a new era next season under Dutch tactician Arne Slot after the departure of Jurgen Klopp. Chelsea, on the other hand, will be led by former Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca as Mauricio Pochettino has already departed.

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