In my weekly Wednesday columns so far, I have taken a look at the stats that reveal the truth about the Magpies' season, while also taking an in-depth look at Rafa Benitez's struggles in China.

I will also endeavour to use this column space to look at ways Newcastle can improve the 'small margins' and replicate successful models utilised elsewhere.

As such, this week's column led me to tracking down the world's only professional throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark to hear his story and his incredible success with clubs like Liverpool.

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When Liverpool take on Ajax at the Johann Cruyff Arena this evening, it will mean more than most to Thomas Gronnemark.

The Dane has become renowned as the world's only professional throw-in coach and he will watch proudly as two of his most high profile clients do battle on the global stage.

Another of his former clients, Danish champions FC Midtjylland, are also in the same group and kick off their inaugural Champions League campaign at home to Atalanta.

"A lot of coaches thought I had been coaching Atalanta but I coach Atlanta United as well," Gronnemark laughed when asked about the Champions League draw by Chronicle Live.

"Midtjylland had a one out of eight chance to be drawn in the same group so it was funny. The UEFA Champions League Magazine came to my local town and made a big feature with me so a lot of people want to hear that story!"

For Gronnemark, it was a vindication that his methods are working and the tribulations of his 16-year career as a throw-in coach have been worth it.

It hasn't been without derision, but after working with a number of league champions, as well as Champions League semi-finalists RB Leipzig in the past, people are beginning to take notice.

Gronnemark represented his country at athletics and bobsleigh but it was in 2004 that his love affair with the throw-in began.

The 44-year-old reached the highest youth level of football in Denmark and regularly played against former Real Madrid, Everton and Celtic midfielder Thomas Gravesen in his formative years.

He was always blessed with a long throw-in and looked up to his cousins who were also armed with a long throw.

"All of these sporting experiences led to 2004 when I thought: 'If I can make a good throw-in myself, why can't I teach others to make a good throw-in also?'" Gronnemark explained.

"So I went down to my local library to find a book about throw-ins but there was nothing there and nothing serious on the internet. So I made my own throw-in course and took approximately six months filming myself and analysing myself.

"I had a throw-in course in Autumn 2004 but, to be honest, I didn't know if it would work. I thought it work but, of course, I couldn't show it until then."

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Gronnemark plucked up the courage to ask Danish Superliga outfit Viborg FF if he could use his methods on their players and they saw immediate results.

Viborg's players saw their throw-ins improve by between 10-15 metres through his coaching and they achieved their highest ever finish in the Superliga table.

Then in 2008, his throw-in coaching evolved further.

"In 2008, I was analysing throw-ins for one of my teams and then I saw a pretty normal throw-in in the middle of the pitch and they lost the ball and I thought: 'hey, that was bad'.

"They lost the ball three times in a row from throw-ins and I was shocked. I started analysing and then I started with my throw-in philosophy called the 'long, the fast and the clever throw-in' which looks at throw-ins all around the pitch."

With this philosophy, Gronnemark says clubs he works with will:

But despite his hard work, he was still barely known outside of his homeland until a tweet he sent was picked up by a German newspaper whose readership included Jurgen Klopp.

"It was total shock," Gronnemark admitted when recalling the moment Klopp first got in touch with him.

"In June 2018, there was an 18-year-old defender from FC Midtjylland called Andreas Poulsen who signed for Borussia Monchengladbach.

"He had improved his throw-ins from 24.25m to 37.90m with my training. I made a tweet saying I was proud of him and that he had improved his throw-ins by almost 14m.

"I thought it would be cool if someone saw it but it was just because I was proud of my work with Andreas.

"A small fanzine from the Gladbach area saw it and asked if they could write an article about me as a throw-in coach.

"The article came out and there was a journalist from the big German newspaper BILD who saw it and they contacted me and asked if I would like an article and of course it would be stupid not to say yes because millions of people in Germany read that every day.

"That article was read by Jurgen Klopp and also Ralf Rangnick from RB Leipzig.

"Sometimes small things can make big things happen. In July 2018, I was on a summer trip with my family and I had a missed call from a number in England. I thought it was just a guy trying to sell me some pens. I listened to the voicemail and it was Jurgen Klopp.

"I rode the car home and my wife and kids were with me and the phone rang. My wife picked up the phone and said: "It's Jurgen!"

"I took the phone and he said: 'We had a fantastic season in 2017/18, finishing fourth in the Premier League and reaching the Champions League final. But we lost the ball every time we got a throw-in. We have tried to do something about it but it hasn't really worked out well.'

"So he invited me to Melwood, Liverpool's training ground, in the middle of July and it should have only been a meeting and nothing else at first."

From the moment Klopp met Gronnemark, he was convinced he could make a difference.

Thomas Gronnemark was headhunted by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (Credit Thomas Gronnemark Instagram)

"When I heard about Thomas Gronnemark, it was clear to me I wanted to meet him," Klopp said about their initial meeting.

"When I met him, it was 100 per cent clear I wanted to employ him."

Gronnemark was asked to coach the first-team squad the next day and made an immediate impression. He was handed an initial half-season contract that was extended until the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

Liverpool went from being ranked 18th in the Premier League for retaining possession after throw-ins under pressure (45.4% possession) in 2017/18 to being ranked first in 2018/19 (68.4% possession). The only team with a better record in Europe was FC Midtjylland, who, of course, Gronnemark also coached.

His contract was then unsurprisingly renewed for the 2019/20 season where they scored 13 goals direct from throw-in situations.

In Gronnemark's time working with the Reds, they have won the Premier League, the Champions League and the World Club Cup.

"In the very first session I said to the players that some think that throw-ins are marginal gains, but there are generally between 40 and 60 throw-ins in a match.

"Most teams keep possession in under 50% of the occasions when they have a throw-in under pressure, where the players are marked. If professional players had the same percentage with their feet in the middle of the pitch, they would play Sunday League football!

"I also told them I wasn't going to make them into Stoke number two with a lot of long throw-ins. There is nothing wrong with long throw-ins if you have the team for it. For Stoke it was really good.

"After the meeting, Jurgen Klopp told them: 'This is Thomas, I am hiring him as a throw-in coach and I am 100% sure he can improve our throw-ins because this is the thing we are worst at.'

"When you hear that as a player, it makes you motivated because you want to improve.

"Liverpool had a desire after the 2017/18 season to win the Champions League and the Premier League title. We almost got there in one season but there was a real desire to improve the last percentage.

"A month and a half after my first session, Andy Robertson said in a press conference before a national team match that one of the big differences is that we are switched on now when we have a throw-in.

"It is not difficult to be switched on if you know what to do. If you are just switched on but don't know what to do then you are just getting frustrated and stressed.

"The players have been motivated because they have seen they can improve on their throw-ins. Most teams will improve dramatically because they either have no real throw-in strategy or they have a simple strategy which is really easy to mark.

"We have been playing football for approximately 140 years and there is still this attitude that it is 'only a throw-in'.

"But you have the same consequences if you lose the ball from a throw-in. You can be caught out of balance and it often leads to a counter-attack or a transition against you.

"If you keep the ball, you will have possession and keep control but with the right movements you can also create chances and score goals.

"That is what I am doing in my clubs."

Liverpool will be looking to reclaim their quartet of trophies in 2021

Gronnemark admits people have been 'laughing at my job' over the years.

But he now finds himself a man in demand and he revealed he has turned down the chance to work with some of Liverpool's direct rivals.

That said, Gronnemark is a 'freelance' coach who is currently working with around eight clubs per season and is always on the lookout for fresh opportunities.

He plans to release a book about his methods in the future and despite people asking for tips and guidance of how to become a throw-in coach, he is not in a rush to release his secrets just yet.

Could it be an avenue Newcastle look to pursue down the line?

"My situation can depend from time to time because unless I have signed an exclusive contract with a club I can coach any club I want.

"There is also something called ethics and I have been saying no to some of Liverpool's rivals because I wouldn't coach a rival while coaching Liverpool.

"But things could also change. I am a professional throw-in coach and I could not just live on the income from Liverpool.

"It is fantastic to be part of a Champions League winning and Premier League winning team and I will remember that for the rest of my life.

"But the most important thing for me is to change football so we have much better throw-ins. Throw-ins are causing a lot of frustration and if teams and players have knowledge of how to make space, what works in this zone, what drills we can use to improve the players' throw-in intelligence and then throw-ins will become, really, a fantastic part of football.

"If you look at a basketball match, they create space, they do a pick and roll and it is part of the entertainment. I want to create that in football. I heard Arsene Wenger suggest using kick-ins but you will take a lot away from the game.

"Teams will be under less pressure and with a kick-in you will have less space creation. The biggest loser would be football. I want to create a better game with throw-ins, not only for players and coaches but for spectators as well."