Liverpool Echo

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark could work for Premier League rival

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 18/10/2020 20:00:00 Matt Addison

Liverpool throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark has refused to rule out switching to one of the Reds' rivals, despite saying in the past that he would not work for another member of the traditional top-six.

Gronnemark extended his Liverpool contract during the summer for another season and has contributed to training sessions already this year.

At the time, he clarified that he could be employed by other top-flight teams this season, but not by any of Liverpool's top-six rivals.

But Gronnemark has now refused to rule out working with another of the traditional Premier League top six in the future as he spoke to the ECHO on a special Blood Red podcast.

Listen to the full Thomas Gronnemark podcast by clicking HERE

He said: "If you are looking at what we have done together with the throw-ins, then it was an easy decision [to extend my Liverpool contract], but it is important to say I am a freelance coach.

"I have had requests from rival teams and I can, if I want, coach other teams also in the Premier League. I have no exclusive contract with Liverpool FC so you can say it is my own decision.

"The first couple of years, I have been saying that I won't coach rival teams to Liverpool in the Premier League because I am a freelance coach, but coronavirus is affecting me like everyone else.

"I have to earn money to put food on the table for my family. Right now I am not coaching any rival teams to Liverpool. But let's see. I am freelance and let's see what the future brings, but I am happy at Liverpool."

Liverpool scored 14 goals from throw-ins last season all around the pitch, with Gronnemark's coaching sessions designed to teach players how to create space for each other in those situations, rather than necessarily improve the length or distance of the throw-in itself.

Despite criticism from some pundits including former Liverpool man Steve Nicol, Gronnemark's influence at Anfield is undisputed, and he has played a key role in the success of the last two years.

As well as working at Melwood with the first team - and the Academy with the youth teams on occasion - Gronnemark also provides match analysis of throw-ins.

Jurgen Klopp and his backroom team are known for their intricate attention to detail, and Gronnemark's work very much falls into that category. The Dane is a big part of the coaching staff, and says he has been from day one.

Gronnemark explained: "Jurgen said [to the players when he first arrived], 'this is Thomas, our throw-in coach - it is a specialist job, but we are really bad with throw-ins and that is really something we can improve'.

"He said he was 100 per cent sure that we could improve our throw-ins so it can be a strength and not a vulnerability.

"Liverpool came from, the season before I went there, number 18 in the Premier League on throw-ins, with retaining possession only 45.4 per cent, to 68.4 per cent and number one in the Premier League."

Liverpool were behind only FC Midtjylland across Europe in that regard, another club Gronnemark has worked with, and who the Reds will face in Group D of the Champions League.

Gronnemark claims that throw-ins can have a five to 10 per cent swing in performance either positively or negatively, and Liverpool have certainly benefited so far.

Only ever on a freelance contract at Liverpool to date, if Klopp and his team want to keep Gronnemark to themselves, it seems a more permanent contract might need to be put on the table.

Given the influence that the Danish coach has had so far, that might not be a bad idea - to keep him away from the rest of the top-six over which Liverpool currently have an advantage, if nothing else.

18. lokakuuta 2020 23:00:00 Categories: Liverpool Echo

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