Liverpool climbed back atop the Premier League table on Friday night after a gritty win over Southampton at St Mary’s.
After falling behind to Shane Long’s goal, Jurgen Klopp’s men made a stirring comeback, with Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson all on the scoresheet.
Klopp was forced to make a significant change on the hour mark after something of a dour performance from his men.
James Milner and Henderson were introduced for Georginio Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold, adding some genuine dynamism down the right-hand side.
Henderson, for example, made a serious impact.
After first assisting Mohamed Salah’s brilliant goal, he then scored the third himself, arriving late in the box to fire home Roberto Firmino’s excellent cut-back.
Henderson’s all-action display came after a dismal performance from Wijnaldum, who had 39 touches of the ball, per WhoScored, but failed to have a shot on goal or complete a dribble.
Milner, too, made one tackle compared to zero from Alexander-Arnold, and had two shots on goal to none from the right-back.
The changes, ultimately, allowed Liverpool to gain a territorial advantage and press home their second-half dominance.
The substitutions bode well for the Reds in the run-in. There will be times when the game is not going for them and the pressure may well feel like too much.
But Klopp has shown that he can relieve that at a stroke – his double substitution was a sign that he can change even the most difficult of games from the bench, something that many have accused him of failing to do effectively in previous encounters.
With games against the likes of Chelsea and Wolves to come, more such alterations may well be needed in what look set to be tight encounters.
This has, after all, been one of the most unpredictable title races in recent memory, and Liverpool will need every advantage they can get. If Klopp can provide them through his substitutions, the Reds might just get over the line before Manchester City. Friday’s win alone may well prove to be the difference come the end of the campaign.