Liverpool set to welcome proposed rule change as Jürgen Klopp pet peeve trumps FSG’s marginal gain

Football’s powers that be seem to consider it a week wasted if they haven’t come up with at least one drastic change to the sport by the end of the game. Such is the voracious appetite for change, the IFAB has now come full circle and floated the idea of ​​reversing a change first made in 1863. While relentless tinkering isn’t always good for the game , the latest proposal should surely get the support of Liverpool, and more specifically Jürgen Klopp.

At the last meeting of the legislative body, “kicks” were under discussion. Although there are no plans yet to test them, they are on the agenda – this is how all rule changes are born. The general principle is simple: when the ball goes out of play, this rule would allow teams to throw the ball back into the field, rather than being forced to throw it.

Throw-ins may be considered a sacrosanct part of the game in some circles, but in fact it was not until 1863 that they became the only method of putting the ball back into play. Until then, use of feet was allowed – in pre-IFAB times it was the FA who decided to step in, ban kicking and put the sport on a 150 year trajectory towards Rory Delap.

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At first glance, Liverpool might be a bit put off by the proposed change. They, more than anyone, have mastered the art of throw-ins. Considered irrelevant for much of the century and a half of their presence in the sport, the FSG changed all that in their quest for marginal gains, engaging a coach specializing in throw-ins. Under Thomas Gronnemark, Klopp’s side have become adept at using these situations.

But while Klopp and his team have made the most of the throw-in, they would benefit more from the kicking (re)dawn. The magnitude of this benefit will depend on the magnitude of the change.

In Klopp’s ideal world, throw-ins would probably disappear completely, replaced entirely by throw-ins. This would help defeat one of the main time-wasters in football.

The Liverpool manager has repeatedly lamented this blight on the sport: he said he would resign before ordering his side to waste time, most recently frustrated by Spurs’ ‘play’ in the 1-0 draw. 1 ultimately expensive.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping teams from throwing the ball slowly either, but there’s something unique about throw-ins. The number of ways the ball can be distributed is tightly limited by the physical constraints of the distance the ball can be thrown, and the result can be a time-consuming effort.

Players can quite legitimately be faced with very few options in terms of where to throw the ball, and referees have no choice but to allow themselves some latitude in how long this process takes. Quite often, opposing fans yell about Liverpool’s ‘waste of time’, when it’s clear Klopp would prefer to continue the game – it’s hard to separate these genuine cases of bid-blocking to reduce time.

More likely, kicks would be introduced as an alternative to throw-ins rather than a replacement. But it still has the potential to benefit Liverpool. For one thing, when the situation called for it, they could always use the lessons Gronnemark taught, ensuring that FSG’s hire didn’t go to waste. But in other situations, they could push the game forward at a rapid pace, helping to deliver the heavy metal football that Klopp promised when he arrived.

After all, while Liverpool may have some of the best bowlers, they certainly have some of the best kickers as well. Trent Alexander-Arnold can effortlessly send the ball down the length of the pitch – being able to do that instead of a throw-in could plausibly present a lot more chances. More fundamentally, it would ensure the ball is in play for longer, giving Klopp’s side more time to find a way to goal in any given game.

The IFAB, UEFA and others could certainly learn a bit from the adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. But the throw-ins, no doubt, are broken. There’s a clue in the name of the sport: throwing the ball shouldn’t take away so much time from where it should be kicked. It’s a change that Liverpool, Klopp, FSG and everyone else should follow.

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