Jurgen Klopp’s substitutions became Liverpool’s new secret weapon

Although last season’s decisions around Jurgen Klopp’s replacements were questioned, have the Reds been able to improve under his enhanced firepower off the bench? Jake Clay examines…

The poor performance of Liverpool in the 2022–2023 season has no justification. They had become a shadow of the team that had won the Premier League, the Champions League, and an almost unanimous quadruple.


The fact that Klopp lost several of his best players to injury may give him a little measure of compassion.


After missing the initial part of the season due to a hamstring injury, Diogo Jota was only one kick away from joining his teammates on the pitch to celebrate a 1-0 victory over Man City.


Jota, nevertheless, hurt his calf trying to pull the ball up the pitch, which prevented him from playing in the Qatar World Cup in 2022 and for the majority of Liverpool’s season.


Last season, another important player, Luis Diaz, was Liverpool’s standout player and got off to a scorching start.


After embarrassingly falling behind at Arsenal, the Colombian was sidelined until the end of Liverpool’s season.


Their availability off the bench or when switching to the other side to give the team new choices and legs was just as much missed as their quality.


Last season, Liverpool would sometimes start Roberto Firmino, Darwin Nunez, and Mohamed Salah as their front three. If this front line was struggling, there were no substitutes available to turn the tide of play.


As a result, Liverpool appeared one-dimensional, which made it simpler for the opponent to prepare and adjust their game plan.


Together, the replacements that Liverpool has used this season have nine goals in all competitions.


Although Liverpool is surprisingly ranked eighth in the Premier League among managers that utilize substitutes the most, Klopp has undoubtedly been successful in using his.


Compared to 2022–2023, this season has been entirely different because the Reds have improved with each replacement they have made.


This has been especially true when pursuing the game. Their opponents are confused by the tactical adjustments they have made.


Nunez’s final words about Tyneside

RMAT2A Darwin Nunez of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the opening goal for his team at St. James’ Park in Newcastle upon Tyne during the Premier League game. Date of picture: August 27, 2023, a Sunday.

The clearest illustration of this occurred away at Newcastle, where Nunez, despite the Reds being down to 10 men, stole the show with his game-winning cameo.


Jota and Harvey Elliott both entered the game at the hour mark, and they both showed promise in moving Liverpool up the field with a man less.


Elliott’s intensity in the middle of the field helped the Reds establish a 4-4-1 formation. Jota then had the option to drive up to assist Salah after he received the ball on the left flank, giving Newcastle the option to go for a 2-0 lead or stay in control of the game at 1-0.




The large man then entered the game, which was still tied at 1-0.


His influence off the bench shouldn’t come as a surprise, since he is second only to Callum Wilson in the Premier League with four goals and two assists since the season’s beginning.


Liverpool can switch up their lineup here since Nunez’s strength can be used to counterbalance Cody Gakpo’s technical skill.



The rest is history, as Nunez’s dramatic winner in the last seconds will likely go down as the season’s high point.


Vintage 4-4-2 comes to the rescue

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Saturday, September 16, 2023: Following his third goal in the FA Premier League encounter between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium, Harvey Elliott (L) of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Curtis Jones. Liverpool prevailed 3–1. (David Rawcliffe photo/propaganda)

There’s always a shudder down my spine when I think about Liverpool FC, international breaks, and Saturday kickoffs at 12:30 p.m.


The performance against Wolves was indicative of Jurgen Klopp’s team from the previous campaign: weak, inert, and just second best.


That team would have collapsed the previous season, losing 2-0 without putting a glove on their opponent.


The advantage of adding a forward to create a 4-4-2 is that the offensive players surround the opposition, forcing them to retreat.



This includes Elliott, who has contributed so much energy moving forward and has been fantastic in every substitute appearance.


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