Klopp’s king of the subs! Liverpool have 30 goal involvements off the bench this season – TWELVE more than any other club… so how does he do it? And where does YOUR team place in substitutes’ success table?

Liverpool are top of the Premier League — and at the summit of several more tables, too. They are leading the way for goals from substitutes and most tweaks from the bench, and they have changed their starting XI more than any other team in the league.

That’s 30 goal contributions from players off the bench, 136 in-game substitutions and 185 changes to the XI game to game. Of the many weapons Liverpool possess in their fight on four fronts, Jurgen Klopp’s use of his deep and multi-talented squad is one of the most lethal.

Of course, many of these numbers are skewed due to Liverpool’s continued participation in four competitions, with only Manchester City matching their 31 games played this season, plus a significant number of enforced changes due to a long injury list.

But Klopp and Liverpool — whose flame-haired striker of the 1970s and ’80s David Fairclough was the original supersub — are now the undisputed kings of the substitution. In Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg win over Fulham, they won because of the introduction of Darwin Nunez, who contributed two assists, and Cody Gakpo, who made it 2-1.

In the FA Cup at Arsenal on Sunday, Klopp’s changes might not have padded those statistics — some were changing positions rather than personnel — but switching Nunez to the left, Luis Diaz to the right and introducing Diogo Jota as a No 9 helped Liverpool gain control and win the tie.

Liverpool are leading the way for goals from substitutes and most tweaks from the bench, while they have changed their starting XI more than any other team in the league this season

Jurgen Klopp's in-game management across the campaign has been superb and the impact of his substitutes is fuelling the charge for the Reds in four separate competitions

Jurgen Klopp’s in-game management across the campaign has been superb and the impact of his substitutes is fuelling the charge for the Reds in four separate competitions

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On nine occasions in the Premier League alone, Liverpool have conceded the first goal. They have only lost one of those matches — aided by a VAR howler at Tottenham. Among many other things, that speaks of a unique mentality and belief from all in the squad, not just the 11 starters.

‘To turn a game around you need quality, to turn a game around you need belief,’ said Klopp on Wednesday. ‘And the main thing is mentality. We have had to overcome real difficulties this season.’

Klopp went on to explain how two of those matches had seen Liverpool win with 10 men in August, Alexis Mac Allister sent off in the 58th minute against Bournemouth and captain Virgil van Dijk in the 28th minute at Newcastle, with the Reds also trailing at the time of the red card.

In hindsight, those two results acted as a springboard to the success Liverpool are now seeing. Sources suggest those inside the club saw it as a eureka moment, with season ambitions — Liverpool were unsure what to expect given this is a team in transition — upwardly altered.

Klopp recalled that fortnight recently and said: ‘We realised pretty quickly what we can do if we really stick together. What we made of that was absolutely exceptional. I said after the game, “If we can defend with 10 like this, who has a problem doing it with 11?”.’

Togetherness has been the foundation of this team’s remarkable charge that has seen them lose just one Premier League game since a 4-1 defeat at Manchester City on April 1 last season — 31 matches ago.

Every member of the squad knows their role, with an uber- talented crop of youngsters acting as the able supporting cast to a top billing of superstars. Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold are said to have been crucial to the team spirit since being handed their captaincy roles.

Many clubs now view substitutes in a different light, with managers referring to them instead as ‘finishers’. Even in League Two, AFC Wimbledon hired Sammy Lander as a ‘substitutes coach’. He has since done consultation work for Premier League clubs. 

David Fairclough, Liverpool's striker during the 1970s and 1980s, was the original supersub

David Fairclough, Liverpool’s striker during the 1970s and 1980s, was the original supersub

Ryan Gravenberch (right), Harvey Elliott and Joe Gomez have all been substituted midway through matches more than 10 times each

Ryan Gravenberch (right), Harvey Elliott and Joe Gomez have all been substituted midway through matches more than 10 times each

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Even when players don’t come on, they still get detailed instructions from Klopp and right-hand man Pep Lijnders. On Wednesday, young left back Owen Beck seemed to get a positive lecture from Klopp. The Welshman looked frazzled by it — in a good way. Klopp also hailed former striker Divock Origi, now at Nottingham Forest, as the ‘perfect player’ because he knew his place in the pecking order as a supersub and the Belgian never once complained that he deserved a starting spot just because he scored in a previous game.

That’s less the case nowadays, with the likes of Jota, Diaz, Nunez and Gakpo all fighting for two places alongside Mohamed Salah in the front three. Ryan Gravenberch, Harvey Elliott and Joe Gomez have all been substituted midway through matches more than 10 times each.

Even when big names have been injured, youngsters have stepped up, such as Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley, both 20.

Whether named in the starting XI or on the bench, every member of the team is starving for success. This was initially viewed as a transitional year, but after the famine of no trophies last season, Liverpool look ready to feast again, with their supersubs at the heart of it.

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