Throw-ins aren't usually considered to be the most exciting aspect of football.
They aren't as as thrilling as a 25-yard direct free-kick, nor can they be tactically manipulated to the extent a corner can. They're usually regarded as a way of restating the game rather than as a set-piece opportunity.
Liverpool clearly disagree with this sentiment and they have brought in a brand new coach to prove it. Thomas Gronnemark has been drafted in to act as the red's official 'throw-in' coach for the 2018/19 season.
Plenty of pundits, such as Andy Gray and Richard Keys, have expressed some scepticism with regards to the news. Why waste wages on someone who's going to teach footballers how to throw the ball from behind their head?
The appointment confirms the fact that Jurgen Klopp is a man that doesn't have all the answers. He is instead a man who is seeking for guidance in every single aspect of managing a football club and mastering the art of an effective throw-in is no exception. He's looking for any possible way to gain an advantage.
"To be honest, I’d never heard about a throw-in coach. How it is as a football manager, you know a lot about different things – I played the game, I’ve been managing since around about 18 years or so – but that doesn’t mean I’m a goalkeeper specialist and I’m obviously not a throw-in specialist," Klopp recently told Liverpool's club website.
“You cannot have enough specialists around you. I must always be the guy who makes the decisions on when we use all these specialists but you cannot have enough. We have the fitness, medical department, we have the nutrition, and now we have somebody for throw-ins."
As of yet, we don't know exactly what Gronnemark is going to implement at Liverpool. Believe it or not, the Danish coach actually holds the world record for the longest ever throw-in.
Given Klopp's footballing philosophy, it is unlikely that we are going to be seeing any world record attempts take place on the pitch, but long throw-ins into the mixer can cause some serious issues for opposition defences (see Rory Delap).
Andy Gray laughed about #LFC employing throw-in coach, but in an average match:— Training Ground Guru (@ground_guru) September 2, 2018
⚽️ 40 to 50 throw-ins
⚽️ 12 mins = throw-ins
⚽️ 50% of time ball is lost
⚽️ long throw can open up >2,000m² of pitch
⚽️ great counter-attack opportunityhttps://t.co/e6nyFSwpUF
Instead, Liverpool are likely to use Gronnemark's know how to exploit defenders that are pulled all out shape when a throw-in is awarded. Defenders tend to lose their rigidity and their defensive line is left unbalanced and that could provide a chance for Liverpool to pounce.
If you can find a hard, deep and precise throw into the vacant space behind the defence, then the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah could potentially have a free run at goal.
But Gronnemark isn't just there just to provide tactical flexibility. He's there to fine tune the technique of Liverpool's throw-ins. Too many times we see professional footballers fail to throw the ball directly to a teammates feet and Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold is one individual who seems unsure of himself whenever he is forced to restart the game from the touchline.
Gronnemark's appointment will also throw opposition defences into a state of panic. Liverpool's high pressing game means that less skilled defenders are often forced to hoof the ball out of bounds and into touch, which would usually offer some much needed rest bite.
Now, things might be a little different. If Liverpool can successfully start causing some problems from throw-ins, then defenders may have to re-evaluate their options.
Whether or not Liverpool manage to score a few extra goals this season, the appointment in itself demonstrates that they are doing everything they possibly can to cover all aspects of their game. Klopp will be the first to admit that there's a huge gap to close in order to catch up with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
If the Premier League title ends up being decided by a clever throw-in routine, then Klopp will rightfully be lauded for his tactical nuance. There's nothing really to lose for the Reds. And if anything encourages Alexander Arnold to take his throw-ins about 10 seconds quicker than he normally does, then Gronnemark should be welcomed with open arms at Anfield.