Substitutions and Cameos: Klopp 2.0

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Klopp’s Substitutes and Their Cameos

At times last season you were honestly thinking could it get any worse. That was often early on in games too. The answer usually came in the firm if the end score-line and the impact or lack thereof that the substitutes made. So much is the opposite of this season and whilst it’s right to talk and highlight the resilience of this team, the manager is also getting it right most weeks. Considering it was always going to pot last campaign, it’s been a managerial masterclass that sees us currently top, in the semis of the Carabao and into the next round for the FA Cup and Europa. This feels like Jurgen Klopp 2.0 this season.

Photo: IMAGO

Seniors and Kids Shine Against Arsenal

In a fraught FA Cup tie away at The Emirates, it was clear that Gakpo and Elliott weren’t offering what we needed in the midfield or attacking roles. However the introduction of Gravenberch and Jota changed the game in our favour, as Nunez was moved to the left and Arsenal had a real threat to deal with in the attacking third as well as physicality in the middle. Even what looked like the resting of senior stars when Curtis Jones and Alexis Mac Allister came off proved a master-stoke. Conor Bradley and Bobby Clark added their name to an illustrious list of super subs as one pocketed Martinelli and other supported and channeled his inner Fernandinho with a classic sh**house booking for the team.

Nunez, Elliott, Diaz et Al. All Made The Difference 

It’s just another plus in the column for the manager and his changes this season. There are so many pick from but it’s impossible to forget the likes of Nunez silencing Newcastle and Harvey hurting Hodge. Even when it’s gone badly for 99% of the game, the likes of Diaz against Luton have come on to rescue something. Even the under-rated element of Endo and his impact against Fulham could easily be forgotten. Whichever way you dress it up, if you’re going to criticise Jurgen for his starting line-up then you have to praise him for recognising it’s not working. That’s a skill in itself that every top manager has.

Praise Needs To Be As Loud As Criticism 

The issue or concern had been about not playing well but still winning and even that seems to have abated slightly with great performances against West Ham and Arsenal in December being topped by a New Year’s Day statement against Newcastle (Jota and Mac Allister the super subs that day). There’s been talk about our strength in depth and the need to go into the market this January, which maybe fair to discuss in the current climate. What’s also fair though is to recognise just how much the manager is getting from his subs and their cameos this campaign. This team isn’t the only thing that’s on its second version.

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