This is an ultra-revealing statistic.
In Jurgen Klopp’s first 30 Premier League matches, i.e – the entirety of the 2015/16 season since he took over – he made 90 substitutions, or all three per match.
In other words, he always used options from the bench to either change tactics or introduce fresh legs, without fail.
This term, we’ve seen more or less the same. In Liverpool’s first 17 games of the campaign, Klopp made 50 of his available 51 subs.
But a few weeks back, this all changed. Versus Bournemouth and West Ham – two games where we desperately needed goals at the death – Klopp made just one sub in both matches. Against the Irons, this was enforced due to Dejan Lovren’s injury.
Our bench on Sunday looked like this: Mignolet, Moreno, Klavan, Lucas, Ejaria, Alexander-Arnold, Woodburn. As you can see, the only out and out offensive option is Woodburn, who’s just turned 17 and is not a player Klopp wants to rush.
With injuries to Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Coutinho, Emre Can, Marko Grujic and now Lovren, it’s clear that Klopp needs to bolster his options come January. If we were in Europe this term, we’d literally be threadbare right now.
Hopefully next season we will be, meaning it’d make sense to strengthen the squad this winter and allow the new players some time to acclimatise.
Klopp likes to have a bench full of different options, but right now, he hasn’t got such a luxury at his disposal.