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Throw-in Coach Thomas Gronnemark Extends His Time at Liverpool

The freelance throw-in coach will enter his fourth season with Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool

Coach Thomas Gronnemark speaks to the players of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on October 15, 2019 in Liverpool, England.
Coach Thomas Gronnemark speaks to the players of Liverpool during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on October 15, 2019 in Liverpool, England.
Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Thomas Gronnemark was first contacted to work with Liverpool in 2018, and has revolutionized the club’s approach to throw-ins during his time at the club.

While throw-ins can feel like marginal gains in a game of football, Gronnemark emphasizes on his website that there are actually between 40 and 60 throw-ins a game, and most teams average possession retention below 50% when taking throw-ins under pressure (in other words, when players are marked). Given manager Jürgen Klopp’s attention to detail, it’s no surprise that he wanted Gronnemark at the club to work with the team in maintaining possession and control in these situations.

Indeed, before Gronnemark’s arrival Liverpool were eighteenth in the Premier League at throw-ins under pressure (retaining just 45,4 % possession), and thus throw-ins were a clear site for improvement. Indeed, only Swansea and Huddersfield were worse than the Reds at this point.

After Gronnemark arrived in 2018 the Reds rose to to number one (68,4% possession), scoring 13 goals following throw-ins in the 2019/20 season.

While the “long throws” popularized by Stoke are not a part of Gronnemark’s tactical approach, his work with fullbacks to improve their throw-in technique can add 5-10 meters (and sometimes as much as 15 meters) to a player’s throw-in range — which is good not simply because you can throw the ball in farther, but because you increase the options you have when throwing in the ball. If you can reach more teammates your throw-ins are harder to defend, and you can select the best possible option to receive your throws.

Gronnemark also works with players to increase the speed and decision-making involved in their throw-ins with drills designed to help train players to effectively mark opposition players quickly in throw-in situations and better be able to decide when taking a quick throw-in (versus taking time) is beneficial in attacking throw-ins.

Gronnemark returns for his fourth season at the club, an arrangement which should see him visit the club six to seven times and lead two to three training sessions with the squad. He will help the Reds analyze their throw-in efficiency at a weekly level for Klopp and his management team.

Specialist coaching like Gronnemark’s continuing presence at the club shows how Klopp’s Liverpool continue to be dedicated to building advantages in all aspects of the game, looking to exploit other teams’ weaknesses ahead of a season that could be quite competitive in the Premier League.