LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp, wearing a face mask, before the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp: “I am not like Gary Neville. This is about all players, not just Liverpool”

Jurgen Klopp has rejected any suggestion of him wanting an unfair advantage for his team by continuing to request five subs on Premier League matchdays.

The Liverpool manager says that most other top-flight bosses feel the same way he does, but the fact the option is not now implemented is entirely down to higher powers within clubs.

Premier League chiefs meet to discuss and vote on rulings and it’s they who have the power to change the substitutions limits – but it was not brought up at the most recent shareholders’ meeting.

Klopp says this shows they remain uninterested in protecting the players and assured reporters that he would keep fighting their corner regardless.

“I was not surprised because I knew. That information speaks for itself, I told you the fact that in the manager’s meeting it would be through with 15 or 16 votes,” he said in his pre-Wolves press conference.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 25, 2020: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is substituted as Liverpool make four changes at once during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and Atalanta BC at Anfield. Atalanta won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“That it didn’t happen since then is obviously a sign that some CEOs, sporting directors or whatever see it differently to their managers.

“That’s not a really good sign to be honest because it shows that these people ignore player welfare, the coaches don’t do that anymore but these people do and that’s not OK.

“But because it’s about player welfare and mental health as a whole package we will not stop fighting for it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Pointing to the Scottish Premiership, Klopp revealed stats suggesting 65% of subs had been for load management and 30% for tactical, with the remainder for injury replacement.

The boss suggested that three subs being allowed was really only two in-game switches, with the third needing to be kept back for a probable injury. “You cannot make early changes otherwise you finish the game with nine or 10 players. The Premier League is too strong for that.”

Referring to the issue of wanting five subs, Klopp continued to reiterate that he was pressing the case not for a tactical advantage, but to protect the players, regardless of the opinions of television pundits.

“It’s about load management and nothing else. Load management not for getting an advantage, but for dealing with the Covid problem for football in the best possible way. We cannot just ignore it because some people say it would be an advantage.

“I heard now Gary Neville said [something on the subject], but it’s not about Liverpool. Whatever he thinks then it’s maybe evidence [of] how he would deal with the situation, but he should not think I’m like him because I’m not like him.

“I speak about all the players and not only Liverpool players.”

Klopp’s pleas to protect the elite contingent continue to fall on deaf ears so far, and it’s not a new issue with the game in England.

Most major changes – be they technological, protective, socially-driven – almost always seem to need the push of some major and potentially devastating incident to finally force the status quo into an overhaul.

The same has been seen with head injuries, goal-line technology, instances of racism within football and plenty more besides, and Klopp is fighting a losing battle at present – until, no doubt, a massive spate of injuries or similar occurs later in the season and the powers that be are backed into a corner over their continued inaction.