How Liverpool’s substitutes won the match – with 2 decisive acts in 2 minutes

The power of Liverpool’s bench was on centre-stage at Crystal Palace, with a game-changing goal and assist coming from Jurgen Klopp‘s well-timed introductions.

“We really turned the game around, the subs were super influential and made a super impact,” Klopp assessed after Saturday’s 2-1 win.

The manager utilised his full compliment of five substitutions, not for the first time this season, and they certainly made their mark.

Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Cody Gakpo, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones were the chosen quintet throughout the second half, and it was only as the subs started to settle that momentum swung the Reds’ way – as FotMob‘s graphic depicts (above).

All assisted by the red card in the 75th minute, of course. But just how influential were Klopp’s subs?


The power of the bench

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 9, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds’ abovementioned subs combined for 165 touches throughout the second half, won 11 duels, had 10 passes into the final third and, crucially, contributed an assist and the winning goal.

Their influence was key, as was their timing:

  • First sub: Gomez ON, Endo OFF – 46′
  • Second & third sub: Gakpo & Konate ON, Gravenberch & Quansah OFF – 57′
  • Fourth & fifth sub: Jones & Elliott ON, Szoboszlai & Nunez OFF – 74′

Alisson was needed to thwart Palace chances, but the second half saw the Reds force the hosts into giving away more free-kicks, and Klopp’s men were also more accurate with the ball (90% accuracy).

The subs injected direction and impetus where there was none before. Shots on target prior to the 76th minute were none existent, but Jones’ move into a dangerous position teed up Mohamed Salah for the first.

And he would have won a penalty had the No. 11 not converted from his attempt. So, within two minutes of their introduction, Elliott was involved in the sending off of Jordan Ayew and Jones had the assist.

Klopp called it the “story so far this season,” with nine different players now contributing either a goal or assist from the bench this season.

When you’re looking to challenge for the title, this is the influence we need from the bench. Long may it continue.


It’s not over until it’s over

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 9, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates with match-winning goal-scorer Harvey Elliott during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. Liverpool won 2-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Elliott has been the quintessential supersub for Liverpool this season, and while he may be desperately hoping to start more games, he has really found an important niche.

“Harvey played a wonderful game and scored a wonderful goal, so happy for him,” Klopp said of the 20-year-old.

Composed and direct, Elliott played the space left by Palace going down to 10 men well, adjusting quickly to the change having only been on the pitch for a minute before the dismissal.

As per Opta’s Michael Reid, at 20 years and 249 days old, he is the youngest player in the club’s history to score a 90th-minute winner away from home in the league – talk about a calm head.

Moreover, of the last four substitutes to score a 90th minute winner in the league, three have been from Liverpool. It’s no wonder the Reds had new found belief when changes kept coming.


Rise for King Mo

We couldn’t surmise the stats of this match without a mention to Salah, who notched his 200th goal for Liverpool when scoring the equaliser.

It is an awe-inspiring figure, and only four other Liverpool players in history have reached that milestone – that speaks volumes.

And as per Opta’s Reid, of the Reds’ five double centurions, Salah reached the 200-goal tally in the least amount of minutes (26,633).

The numbers are insane, we are witnessing greatness.

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