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    Wednesday, 20 July 2022

    Liverpool may have new advantage over Man City after Premier League touchline change - Andrew Beasley

    Liverpool have retained their throw-in coach and the Premier League is looking to speed up restarts


    Multi-million pound transfer activity will always generate the most headlines every summer. Liverpool and their supporters will be hoping that positive stories regarding their £85million signing Darwin Nunez flow throughout the 2022/23 campaign and beyond.

    However, there were two far lower profile headlines earlier this week which were related to each other and could also impact how successful the Reds are this season. Firstly, throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark confirmed his contract has been renewed for a fifth year. While his appointment was initially criticised by backwards-thinking luddites , the Dane has proved his value to the club.

    And his impact may be set to increase with a second piece of news. The Premier League have announced they are looking to reduce time-wasting by employing a multi-ball system on the touchlines. This will enable teams to take throw-ins more quickly, which could prove massively advantageous to Liverpool.

    Across the seven seasons which Jurgen Klopp has been in England, his side have had more throw-ins than any other team in the top flight. When’s the parade , eh?

    Jokes and jibes from rival fans aside, this is why
    Gronnemark’s work is so important. If Liverpool can take their well-coached throw-ins more swiftly then all the better. Their greater gain might be from opposing teams having to speed up too though.

    According to the BBC, the ball was in play in a Reds match for an average of 57 minutes last season, whereas it was active in Manchester City’s games for 60 minutes and 53 seconds. Some of the difference will be thanks to Pep Guardiola’s possession-centric style which helps his side to keep the ball in play for longer. Opposing teams will have undoubtedly wasted time against them, just as they did against Liverpool, too. Anything that helps the Reds' matches remain active for longer can only be a good thing though.

    In fairness, the apparent time wasters didn’t present the Reds with too many issues in 2021/22. They beat the top five clubs for shortest game time home and away and took 19 wins from 20 matches against the top 10. Any additional playing time will still be a benefit when the title battle could easily come down to goal difference.

    The official Premier League data on Fantasy Football Scout suggests that Liverpool don’t make particularly effective use of their throw-ins.

    According to their statistics, the Reds generate one shot for every 563 throws they take, which is way below the average of 221 across the division. Indeed, Brentford had 36 shots from throw-ins last season when Liverpool have had just 11 in the last seven years, for instance.

    But the Reds are not generally direct with their throws, unlike the Bees. A scratch below the surface highlights just how important even routine restarts from the touchline have been.

    If you learned that Liverpool scored goals against both Manchester clubs , AC Milan, Atletico Madrid (home and away) and Chelsea via a particular method last season, you would urge them to repeat it as often as they can. The Reds found the net in all those matches, as well in home games against Leeds and West Ham, with moves which began with a humble throw.

    That they did was rarely obvious. In only three of the mentioned examples did the throw-in occur in the attacking third, let alone being launched towards the box in the style which John Arne Riise used while at the club.

    But by employing Gronnemark, Klopp has ensured his side who were poor at retaining possession from throw-ins no longer are, and it has enabled them to score big goals in big games. With the Reds soon able to restart play quicker than ever before, it will be fascinating to see what innovations they will have in store.

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