When Jurgen Klopp decided to hire a throw-in coach in 2018 to improve one of the weaker sides of their game many eyebrows were raised from not just opposing fans but also from Liverpool supporters themselves.
A sixth European Cup in 2019 followed by their first domestic league title in thirty years last season have answered any of the critics of that faithful decision three years ago.
The man tasked with providing better returns from Liverpool throw-ins was Thomas Gronnemark. Speaking to KCLR’s Saturday Scoreline, the Danish native explained how he helped to turn the Premier League champions form around in what was once seen as an innocuous part of the game.
“My big breakthrough came in July 2018 when Jurgen Klopp asked me to work directly with throw-ins.
“The players were really motivated to take the final step. They had a throw-in possession of 45% and were eighteenth in the league.
“When I came in it increased to 68% and we were top of the league. My coaching had a great impact not just on keeping possession but also scoring goals,” said Gronnemark.
The throw-in coach, who has worked with clubs such as RB Leipzig and Gent, explained why he needs to work with every member of the squad.
He said: “I work with all of the players on the team. I do specific things with the full-backs, but every player has to be able to create space from a throw-in, so I need to work with every team.”
Gronnemark has taken aspects from numerous other sports to try and create throw-in routines that aid teams in keeping possession and using a throw-in as an opportunity to score.
“I take a lot of things from basketball and I’m inspired by it particularly the open play in terms of the space creation. I look at other sports too and try to take different aspects from the likes of athletics and video analysis from bobsleigh.”
The Liverpool coach outlined how crucial throw-ins are in the professional game.
“It’s pretty new that throw-ins are considered important. It’s also a bit scary because there are between forty and sixty throw-ins per game, and they have a massive baring on the result of the match,” explained Gronnemark.
Considered to be one of the best throw-in coaches in the world, Gronnemark elaborated on how he became involved in a niche and overlooked part of the sport.
“I used approximately six months in 2004 to perfect my own throw-in. Then, I did a throw-in course, and I did it with a team in Denmark. They improved their throw-ins due to the course and they scored a lot of goals from throws, so I knew then that they were crucial.”
Gronnemark is not tied to any specific club. Despite coaching Liverpool, he is available to any club who requires his services and can be contacted via his website.
“I work with eight teams per season. I’m a free-lance throw-in coach so I can work with any club across the world because I am not contracted to any club.”
Check out the full interview with Thomas on Scoreline Extra below: