As Jurgen Klopp’s third anniversary at Liverpool approaches, recent games have proved that the German boss has finally solved one of the biggest problems in recent memory at the Merseyside club – the ability to bring on a substitute or two that can change a game when things aren’t quite clicking.
Klopp has been widely praised for the high-tempo style of play that he has instilled at Liverpool over his tenure, but it is yet to yield a trophy despite the Reds competing in two major European finals over the years.
However, the Gegenpressing system clearly takes its toll on the players and Klopp’s side have struggled to play every game with the same tempo in the past three seasons. This has not been helped by the fact that the former Borussia Dortmund manager has not had a strong enough squad to rotate players, and when games weren’t going well he had no impact players on the bench to turn to.
This season though things seem different. The signings of central midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho allow Klopp to inject fresh legs at the heart of his team and former Stoke man Shaqiri has looked dangerous every time he has come off the bench in a red shirt.
As well as those options, Klopp also finally has a fully fit Daniel Sturridge available to bolster his strike force, which has been carried by Roberto Firmino for so long now.
Against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Sturridge started and scored Liverpool’s opener, before Firmino came off the bench to net a dramatic late winner.
The roles were then reversed against Sturridge’s former club Chelsea on Saturday, as the former England international was called upon by Klopp to partner the Brazilian with the Reds chasing the game with four minutes to play. Sturridge’s stunning strike then equalised for Liverpool, and proved just how important the bench will be for Klopp this season as he looks to end the trophy drought.