Michael Owen has suggested Cody Gakpo's versatility may be hindering him in becoming a 'top player' at Liverpool.
The Dutch forward scored twice as the Reds beat LASK 4-0 at Anfield on Thursday night, securing their qualification to the Europa League last 16.
The brace for the 24-year-old forward followed a four-game goal drought, while he has had to fight for his place in Jurgen Klopp's lineup so far this season.
After a strong end to the 2022/23 campaign, Gakpo – who arrived at Liverpool from PSV in the last January transfer window – began the new campaign as the manager's preferred central attacking option. However, injuries and the form of Darwin Nuñez have seen him dip in and out of the team.
Speaking ahead of the win over LASK, Gakpo suggested he was content with the 'competition' from Nuñez for the centre forward's role, while he has also been used as a midfielder and a winger during his time at Liverpool.
Former Liverpool striker Owen has said that the Netherlands international may need to nail down one position in order to go to the next level.
"It’s good being versatile. But if he was that good, and he was one of the first names on the team sheet, he would only have one position," Owen said on TNT Sports. "You don’t move Mo Salah from the right-hand side.
"If he’s going to be a top player for Liverpool I think he’s got to put in performances whereby Jurgen Klopp says, ‘right, Cody Gakpo, in the team, in that position, because he’s so vital’. At the moment he fits in a little bit which probably helps him get games under his belt.
"But I think he’ll want to be better than that to be a regular starter. I think the manager will decide that in terms of where he plays. He can just affect it by how he plays when he gets the chance like tonight, that’s the only way he can affect it as a player.
"You can’t knock on the manager’s door - well you can, but it’d be a pretty stupid thing to do to knock on the manager’s door and say ‘I’m only playing this position now’ because you might find yourself on the bench a lot of the time, so he’s got to do his talking on the pitch."
Gakpo has six goals for Liverpool so far this season in all competitions, as well as one assist.