Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised the Premier League’s decision to revert back to the usual policy of three substitutions per match, suggesting it could be damaging to players later in the season not to continue allowing up to five substitutions each game.
The Premier League introduced temporary rule changes giving each club the opportunity to bring on five players during ‘Project Restart’, when the final nine rounds of fixtures of the 2019/20 campaign were finished in less than six weeks in June and July.
IFAB lawmakers have extended the temporary amendment, allowing five substitutions to be used across 2020/21. But taking up the rules is at the discretion of each competition and the Premier League voted earlier this month to go back to normal instead.
However, the issue hasn’t been closed and it was reported last week that Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are part of a group lobbying for it to be re-considered.
Some of the other clubs who were initially in favour of reverting back to three substitutions are said to have now changed sides and the matter was discussed at a video meeting last week.
Criticism of the rule centres on it supposedly benefitting wealthier clubs with bigger squads. But those in European competition, such as the aforementioned five, would argue they need the added flexibility in order to better rest and rotate players on whom there are greater demands.
Klopp is in favour of sticking with five substitutions this coming season and has denied it because he is seeking an extra advantage over smaller sides.
“I know the discussion will go again that it’s an advantage for the bigger clubs. I don’t discuss it from that point of view. I don’t want to have an advantage in the competition,” the Liverpool boss is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“We have 38 Premier League games in a four-weeks shorter season. That says it all. And all the other competitions will be pretty much the same, as far as I know. That means just that these things would help. But I can imagine that other teams see it differently.
“I saw it last season as well when we played the last nine games – Manchester City could bring on five players — oh not bad! But it’s never for having an advantage. It’s all about how can we get through this season. Not: ‘Oh that’s a little advantage here’.”
The new Premier League season will begin on Saturday 12 September when Arsenal travel across London to face newly promoted Fulham in the day’s lunchtime kick-off. Defending champions Liverpool will start later on, hosting newly promoted Leeds at 5.30pm.
For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!