Jurgen Klopp critical of Premier League executives over lack of vote on five subs

Jurgen Klopp has lost a number of players to muscle injuries this season

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has criticised Premier League executives for “ignoring player welfare” after they did not consider increasing the number of substitutes to five.

The Premier League has twice voted not to increase the number of substitutes and the subject was not raised at a meeting of the clubs on Thursday.

Klopp said the majority of managers were in favour of the change.

“Nobody thought [five substitutes] would go through,” said Klopp.

“I told you about the facts in the managers meeting; if we were allowed to vote, it would have gone through with 15-16 votes.

“But that it hasn’t happened since is a sign that some [Premier League] shareholders see it differently to their managers.

“That is not a good sign, to be honest, because it shows they ignore player welfare. The coaches don’t do that but these people do.

“If you don’t have a chance to vote for it, then you have to accept it for the moment – but, because it’s about player welfare and mental health, we will not stop fighting for it. It’s the right thing to do.”

Each of the Premier League’s 20 clubs is a shareholder in the competition; a club relinquishes its share if relegated

‘Next summer it will become a problem for Southgate’

Premier League clubs could make five changes when the top flight resumed last June following a three-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic but they voted to return to three changes per game for this season.

A proposal to change it back to five would need to be raised at a Premier League meeting and earn the support of 14 clubs. On the last occasion, 11 clubs were in favour.

The English Football League recently switched to letting its clubs use five substitutions, with the Premier League the only major competition in Europe sticking to three.

“I’m pretty sure we will discuss it again, as all the teams have to play every three days from now and everyone will feel the difference to other seasons,” added Klopp.

“And next summer it will become a problem for [England manager] Gareth Southgate because most of the players he wants to pick will have played three times a week all the time.

“So Gareth will get what we can give him and if we stick with three subs then he has the problem then. So it’s an FA problem, in my understanding.”

Klopp and Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola have both said they want to be allowed to use five substitutes to help prevent players getting injured.

The Liverpool manager rejected Fulham boss Scott Parker’s view from the managers’ meeting that having five substitutions would benefit the bigger squads.

Klopp also disagreed with ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville, who claimed that he wanted to be able to make more changes to benefit Liverpool.

“He [Neville] should not think that I am like him because I’m not like him,” said Klopp.

“I speak about all the players – not just the Liverpool players.”

He added: “I got some numbers from the Scottish league; 65% of substitutions were for load management, 30% for tactical and 5% for injury reasons,” said Klopp.

“When people tell me we don’t make enough changes, that is the problem with three subs, because the third sub, sometimes two subs, you have to keep because so many players are on the edge. You don’t know who will go down first.

“So you cannot make early changes otherwise you could end the game with nine or 10 players and the Premier League is too strong for that. It [five subs] is just the right thing to do.”

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