Liverpool were widely mocked back in August 2018 for the appointment of Thomas Gronnemark - a specialised throw-in coach.
No Premier League club had ever made an appointment like this before, which subsequently meant that fans and (some) pundits alike found the very idea baffling and amusing.
“I'm sorry, a throw-in coach? Here's the ball, pick it up with both hands, take it behind your head and throw it with both feet on the ground,” former Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray said following the announcement. “I'll tell you what, I'm officially a throw-in coach and I'm also going to some clubs later this month to teach them how to kick off. I want to be the first kick-off coach.”
However, managers like Jurgen Klopp are successful for many reasons - including being receptive to new ideas, open-minded and innovative.
"To be honest, I'd never heard about a throw-in coach," Klopp told reporters in 2018. "When I heard about Thomas, it was clear to me I wanted to meet him; when I met him, it was 100% per cent clear I wanted to employ him."
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Gronnemark, who holds the world record for the longest throw-in at 51.33m, conceded at the time that “it is totally the weirdest job in the world” - but statistics show the 44-year-old Dane has, in fact, made a significant impact at Anfield over the past couple of seasons.
Per Liverpool’s official website, who cite a documentary produced by Tifo Football, the Reds were the third-worst team in the Premier League when it came to retaining possession from throw-ins prior to Gronnemark's arrival.
Klopp’s side only managed to retain possession 45.5 per cent of the time from throw-ins during the 2017-18 campaign.
The Premier League’s average possession retained from throw-ins was 48.6 per cent - making England’s top flight the worst of any major league in Europe.
But thanks to the impact of Gronnemark - and this is surely no coincidence - Liverpool went on to retain possession from throw-ins 68.4 per cent of the time the following season.
This made Klopp’s side the second-best team in Europe for throw-ins after Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland - who, it just so happens, were previously coached by Gronnemark.
That is a remarkable stat.
People laughed when Gronnemark was appointed, but it’s clear that he’s improved Liverpool.
At the highest level of football, it’s the little details that can make all the difference.
Andy Robertson has increased his throwing distance from 19 to 30 metres under Gronnemark, while Joe Gomez picked up an assist directly from a throw-in while playing for England against Croatia in November 2018.
More recently, Roberto Firmino’s winner against Wolves began with a throw-in from the right-hand side of the pitch…
While the Brazilian’s goal against Tottenham was also made possible thanks to an intelligent throw-in at the start of the move…
If anything, Gronnemark deserves a pay rise!News Now - Sport News