Darwin Núñez is already on his holidays ahead of next season, having completed his first campaign on English shores after moving to Liverpool from Benfica last summer. The 23-year-old striker was not called up by Marcelo Bielsa to represent Uruguay this week due to a minor injury concern, meaning he can now rest and recuperate ahead of next term.

While he recovers, though, Cody Gakpo will be busy representing the Netherlands. His Dutch side is scheduled to face Croatia this week in the semi-final of the Nations League, and based on some of his pre-match comments, Núñez should be quietly concerned about what lies ahead for him in a red shirt.

It seems Gakpo is destined to be deployed as a striker through the middle against Croatia, with Memphis Depay injured and unable to feature. The Liverpool forward initially joined the Reds from PSV Eindhoven as a wide forward in the January transfer window, but all the signs are suggesting that he's going to evolve into a player for the middle.

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Speaking to Dutch publication AD recently, Gakpo said: "[Guus] Hiddink was the first [to mention the change]. He spent a while at PSV as a sounding board. I didn't want to believe that then. And also not when Roger Schmidt said the same thing later at PSV.

"I was more stubborn than now, felt good on the left flank. But at the last World Cup, I was already more central on the field and at Liverpool even permanently in the past six months. That was good. I'm just more excited to get better at that place in the near future. [Liverpool] play with two wingers who stay high and a striker who can also lower himself to participate in midfield. Klopp saw me doing that, he said after my arrival in January. And now I do too."

It remains to be seen where Gakpo will end up on the pitch as he continues to mature as a player, but for him, it looks like everything is pointing towards him becoming a fixed presence in the heart of the field rather than one who plays on the flanks, which explains why he keeps being compared with Roberto Firmino.

Since signing on the dotted line in the winter window, Gakpo has been used as a Firmino successor of sorts, occupying Liverpool's challenging false nine role. He has performed well and at just 24 years old, he's still got plenty of time on his side to continue evolving in his quest to become an upgraded version of the Brazilian, who will depart Anfield this summer after eight memorable years of service.

The Dutchman has all of the necessary qualities to be a real contributor on Merseyside, but his growing presence — coupled with his quotes about becoming a central attacker — should concern Núñez, who joined Liverpool as a record-breaking signing just 12 months ago.

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Since his arrival, he's proved to be utterly chaotic and menacing whenever he's involved. The South American is a true poacher who is inclined to occupy the penalty box rather than dropping deeper like Firmino or Gakpo, but as a consequence of his particular skill set, he's looked like somewhat of a square peg in a round hole this term.

Núñez has been deployed on the flanks at times, while also being expected to drop into midfield to help his teammates, even though he's not a natural when doing so. He's contributed his fair share of scoring returns with nine goals and three assists in the Premier League but overall, he has unintentionally created a tactical puzzle of sorts for Klopp to solve.

Unlike players such as Gakpo, Luis Díaz and Diogo Jota, for example, Núñez isn't the most versatile. He is a player who seems to want to be the tip of his team's spear through the middle — without having to drop into more withdrawn spaces — but he hasn't yet been able to perform in such a manner for Liverpool on a regular basis.

He amassed just 19 starts in the Premier League in his debut year in England, whereas Gakpo accumulated 17 even though he didn't join the Reds until halfway through the season. Many of the signs suggest that Núñez has a fight on his hands to be the outright number nine at Anfield, with Klopp presented with a big decision to make in the coming months.

"Why don't we start the new LFC now?" Klopp asked towards the end of the campaign. Both players possess bags of potential, but right now, it is anybody's guess as to who will lead the line for Liverpool at the start of next season.