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What Jurgen Klopp has said about five sub rule as Premier League confirm change

Jurgen Klopp has long been firm in his stance over the introduction of the five substitution rule in the Premier League, and his words have finally been heeded by the 20 clubs.

The Liverpool manager is never shy in offering his opinion, hitting the nail on the head regularly whether it be pertaining to league issues or those extending beyond the microcosm of sport.

He’s not always sure people in power ever listen to his words, but he’s not afraid to offer them anyway and the five substitution rule has long been at the top of his agenda.

Not for competitive advantage as some like to suggest, but for player welfare.

On Thursday, all 20 Premier League clubs met and agreed to five subs being reintroduced for the 2022/23 season, falling in line with Europe’s top leagues in addition to both domestic cups.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 19, 2022: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is replaced by substitute Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It will be of particular delight for Klopp that it has been given the green light and here is what he has previously had to say on the matter.

Back in December, he made a passionate plea for clubs outside the top six to approve the rule:

“We have to put competition aside and don’t say ‘OK, City has better subs than Southampton, we have better subs than Burnley‘ or whatever.

“Yes, that’s probably true – whatever that means exactly, because it’s still Premier League and they can still cause us problems.

“But if you talk about the quality, without playing, just the transfer market and all these kinds of things, then that’s the case.

“The problem is, obviously, this intensity. For a top-class footballer in England, it’s definitely on the edge.

“A top-class player in England plays 38 Premier League games, [then] cup games, two cup competitions, so even when we don’t go to the final, let’s just put on another five. It’s 43.

“Then they have international games, because pretty much all of them play for their national teams – eight, nine, 10 games a year. So you can count that.

“Plus Champions League games, the further you go, the more games it is. So you come pretty quickly in an area with more than 50 games.

“My first season here, I think the [Europa League] final was the 64th game.

“So yes, now, we have squads and can swap, but there are some key players who only come out when they are injured pretty much, so that’s how it is.”

“As an example, Burnley, I’m not sure how many of their players play international football. When our players have three games, they have no game.

“They’re playing 38 Premier League games, cup games another three, four, so that makes it 42.

“So we talk about an issue which some clubs and some players definitely have, but it’s decided by other teams.

“And because we make kind of a competition of it, it’s like ‘no, they are better than us!’.

“That’s a real problem, I have to say.

And earlier in March, Klopp again questioned the time taken to make the right decision:

“Maybe I start out of the blue with it, but it’s essential that, at one point, we go again for the five subs in the Premier League.

“It is, because we have three competitions where we have five subs and one we don’t have that.

“But even for the teams that don’t have three competitions [with it], only two, it makes so much difference.

“I don’t understand why it takes that long to understand it. Because the Premier League has to save their top-class players as well.

“It cannot be that we [don’t] do it because some clubs think it will be an advantage for the bigger clubs. It’s not about an advantage, it’s about the game.

“You keep the players in a better place, you would get much less injuries, definitely, over the years – we will see that if we finally introduce it.

[…]

“That’s why we need five subs, I tell you. I don’t know why you (journalists in the room) are laughing – it’s not funny. We need five subs.”


With the World Cup to add chaos to the schedule next season and the demands on players to be taken up a notch once more, it’s a sensible move – albeit it took the league longer than it needed to reach the conclusion.

The Premier League have confirmed in 2022/23 that clubs can name nine substitutes in their matchday squad and make five substitutions on three occasions during a match, with an additional opportunity at half-time.

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