Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has backed his Chelsea counterpart Thomas Tuchel’s call to permit two extra substitutions.
Clubs in the English Premier League play more matches during the festive season in normal circumstances but the situation has been exacerbated this year by the COVID outbreaks.
COVID-19 outbreak has affected a host of clubs, causing a number of matches to be postponed.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea was able to beat Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday but picked up two more injuries in the process.
For this reason, Tuchel had backed Manchester United, Ralf Rangnick, who had earlier called on the Premier League to switch to five subs in a match.
Asked if he agreed with Tuchel and whether he would be in favour of five substitutions returning, Klopp, who is preparing his team to face Chelsea on Tuesday, “Yes. So we have to put the competition aside and don’t say, ‘Well [Manchester] City have 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 the Premier League and they can still cause us problems and all these kinds of things. But if you talk about the quality without playing, just transfer market and all these kinds of things, then yes that is the case.
“The problem is, this intensity for top-class football in England is definitely at the edge. So it means a top-class player in England plays 38 games in the Premier League, two cup competitions, so even if you don’t go to the final let’s add on another five, so 43 games.
“They have international games with the national teams because pretty much all of them play for their national teams, so eight or nine, maybe 10 games a year – so you can count that.
“Plus Champions League, the further you go the more games it is, so pretty quickly you’re at an area of more than 50 games – or higher. My first season here, the [Europa League] final was the 64th game.
“Yes, we have squads and can swap, but there are some key players that only get out when they are injured pretty much, so that’s how it is.
“But now the decision about it [extra subs] is made, and we realised in the manager’s meeting it was like that. The decision is made by 14 clubs, you need 14 votes to change it. And there is something wrong.
“As an example, Burnley, I’m not sure how many players of them play international football. When our players have three games, they have no games. So they play 38 Premier League games, cup games – another two, three, four – so that makes it 42.
“So we’re talking about an issue that some clubs definitely have, some players definitely have, but it’s decided by other teams. And because we’ve made kind of a competition of it, other teams are like, ‘Well no, they are better than us’ and stuff like this. And that’s a real problem, I have to say.
“It’s a real problem because it’s the right decision [to reintroduce five subs], especially in this moment, because you bring players back after a Covid infection or after an injury and because of the amount of games you have to play, they have to play immediately.
“So this wonderful game is so wonderful because usually the players on the pitch are in good shape, are well trained, are well recovered and go for it. And that’s why we love the game. And now the situation is clear, if we don’t do that, it’s now much more difficult.
“And again, one example of it, the best league in the world, the most intense league in the world, is the only league in Europe – maybe the world, I don’t know – with still three subs. And that’s not right. It’s not.
“But we came through until here, that’s how it is. I still think we have to talk about it. We should change it, but it’s for the Premier League. Richard Masters said he would like to make this decision himself but he can’t because you need a vote and other clubs, with different problems, say, ‘No we don’t want to have five subs’ and so I don’t see a real chance to change it, to be honest.”