Premier League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp worried about 'player welfare' after league’s decision to revert to three subs

Klopp said the compressed nature of the reshaped and late-starting 2020-21 campaign meant it would have been a “common sense” decision to give teams the chance to make more in-game changes for this season only.

The Associated Press September 11, 2020 20:33:05 IST
Premier League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp worried about 'player welfare' after league’s decision to revert to three subs

File image of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. AP

Liverpool: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expressed concern Friday that player welfare is being risked by allowing only three substitutions to be made in Premier League games this season.

Premier League clubs voted against retaining the temporary rule which enabled five substitutions, a measure brought in when football resumed in June after the coronavirus outbreak as a way to reduce fatigue for players during a busy run of rescheduled games.

Spain, Italy, Germany and France have decided to keep the rule allowing five subs, one FIFA president Gianni Infantino said "has proven successful.”

Klopp said the compressed nature of the reshaped and late-starting 2020-21 campaign meant it would have been a “common sense” decision to give teams the chance to make more in-game changes for this season only. Liverpool begins its title defense Saturday against promoted Leeds.

“It is not about having an advantage because we have better players and can bring five top players on the pitch,” Klopp said. "I really don't like that we deal with this thing based on the wrong facts.

“It's not about having advantages, it is about players' welfare and having the highest quality in the games, for all teams. I was really surprised when I heard the league (clubs) decided against it.”

Klopp acknowledged he will have to “rotate more” this season as a result and that teams will “need numbers." Liverpool, though, has only made one signing this offseason, bringing in Kostas Tsimikas as a back-up for first-choice left back Andrew Robertson for £11 million ($14 million).

The German coach said this week that Liverpool was not prepared to “change overnight and say, ‘Now we want to behave like Chelsea'” — a reference to the London club spending around $250 million on new signings ahead of the new season.

“For some clubs, it seems to be less important how uncertain the future is because they are owned by countries, owned by oligarchs and that is the truth," Klopp told the BBC. “We are a different kind of club.”

Only one team — Manchester City in 2018 and '19 — has retained the Premier League title since Manchester United did so in 2009, but Klopp is unconcerned about that.

“Winning the league last year is actually the best problem you can have, to be honest,” he said. "If it is a problem, I even don't know. Everybody gives me a feeling that it should be a problem.

“So we must give it a try again. It's all about how we can put all these intense performances on the pitch, again and again and again. That is it pretty much.”

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