Depending on your disposition, you’re either absolutely astonished or utterly unsurprised by just how much attention has been focused on Liverpool’s decision to employ a throw-in specialist. Refusing to accept their own irrelevance, fossilised remains of former pundits like Andy Gray have — predictably — come down hard on the very concept of experts with a narrow field of mastery.
Following Jürgen Klopp’s assessment that “you cannot have enough specialists around you”, Thomas Gronnemark shot down the Scottish relic on Monday with a series of well-placed comments, and today, Andrew Robertson added his voice to the praise coming from inside the club.
“We are switched on when it comes to throw-ins – everyone is in better positions that we are finding easier, and the lads’ techniques have got better,” said the left-back.
“We all got measured and I was one of the worst, but since the day he came in until now I think I’ve gained about six metres.
“We have all bought into it and we are all improving and are a lot more accurate,” he continued. “I think it is a positive thing and it has definitely worked for us (...)
“It is the small gains that can make big differences.”
Even if Liverpool don’t score a single goal from throw-ins this season — and given the power and distance Joe Gomez is getting on his efforts already, that seems unlikely — the simple added focus and attention paid to a set-piece that occurs roughly every two minutes in football, could be just the thing that tips the scale for the Reds on an occasion or two over the course of the season. And if so, Gronnemark will have been worth his salary many times over.