Its not about advantages, its about player welfare – Klopp on latest rejection of five subs

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are without several key players through injury

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised Premier League clubs for voting against the use of five substitutes for a third time.

The Premier League is the only top division in Europe not to have allowed five substitutes for the 2020-21 season.

Clubs did, however, vote to increase the number of players allowed on the bench from seven to nine.

“I’m not sure it’s a compromise,” said Klopp.

The club vote came after football’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), confirmed an extension to the rule on Wednesday.

Clubs were able to use five substitutes, and have a bench of nine, when the Premier League 2019-20 season resumed as part of Project Restart in June. However, they chose to return to three at the start of the current campaign.

Klopp has previously criticised Premier League executives for “ignoring player welfare” in not increasing the number of substitutes.

His side are missing several key players through injury, including defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, midfielder Thiago Alcantara and forward Diogo Jota.

“Everybody knows my opinions about it,” Klopp added. “Everyone knows 10 clubs voted against it. It was not about advantages, it was only about player welfare. And they voted against it.

“Pretty much only they voted against them in the whole world.

“I don’t know which other leagues only have three subs. There must be a good reason for it, for all these leagues and clubs to vote for it.”

The new measure increasing the number of players on the bench comes into effect from matchday 14, which begins on Saturday.

Arteta puzzled but Bruce sticking with rules

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is equally puzzled by the decision of clubs, saying the move “doesn’t make a lot of sense”.

Asked whether he could see both sides of the argument, he said: “At the moment no, because the most important thing is the welfare of the players and the best way to protect them and have options to protect them is to have the option to extend the substitutes.

“We [the Premier League] are the only ones doing that [in Europe]. For me it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“But we are pushing, we are giving a lot of stats, giving our opinions. We have a lot of stats to support what’s happening in the Premier League in terms of injuries but still there is no reaction.”

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce said he was happy to remain with three substitutes, although he admitted he could have done with five in recent weeks.

Bruce has been without a number of players following a coronavirus outbreak at the club, and is still missing “four or five of the squad”.

“I could have done with five subs,” he said. “I applaud the decision to have another two on the bench.

“I’m all for sticking with the rules for three subs.”

He added: “We all voted at the start, and for me we should finish with what we started.”

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said his side voted against five subs at the start of the season, adding: “I presume we voted the same way again because we think three subs is sufficient.

“I am pleased, however, that nine players are going to be allowed on to the bench which makes a vast difference, I think. It makes a vast difference in terms of running your team and looking after your team.”

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti insisted three subs are “enough to change the game” and added: “If you need to rest players, you do that at the beginning of the game, not sub him after 60 or 70 minutes.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gave a brief response on the subject. “I’ve spoken about this, some agree some don’t. We’ll go with it. That’s all,” he said.

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