Pep and Klopp Criticize Premier League over Substitute Rule
Following the return of football after the COVID-19 pandemic, most leagues approved a rule that allowed five substitutions per match compared to the usual three.
This was to accommodate the number of games that will be played along with a lack of preparation time.
Recently, the Premier League decided to return to the three-substitution rule despite FIFA approving 5 substitutions until August of 2021.
The Premier League executives argued that more substitutions give an advantage to the larger and more wealthy teams who are likely to have more quality in squad depth.
Most professional leagues currently allow 5 substitutions per match.
Jurgen Klopp stated that the Premier League “lacked leadership” in making decisions.
Liverpool are one of several teams in England that are currently suffering from extensive injuries throughout their squad. Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal, and Leicester are also struggling to maintain fitness levels amongst their starting XI.
The Liverpool manager felt that considering the packed schedules they face, more thought should have gone into the decision to revert the substitution rule.
He would ask that they review the decision again because he did not feel the clubs were provided with enough information from Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.
Klopp explained “we never asked for an advantage…we know our schedule would be incredibly difficult…I think we should think about it again.”
Liverpool were forced to turn to 23-year-old Nathaniel Phillips for their tie against West Ham over the weekend after losing first choice center backs Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip to injury.
Makeshift center back Fabinho would also be watching the game from the sidelines. Midfielders Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain find themselves on the injury list as well.
PEP joins the critics with a good point about injuries
Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola is facing an injury crisis of his own. He is making it clear that he did not agree with the decision.
“There are 47% more muscular injuries this year than last year. Forget about the advantage, this is to protect all the players. ” He would go on to say, “..when they play every 3 days, they start to suffer. Why in all the leagues is this happening and here we cannot protect players?”
It certainly is a different scenario for the teams that play midweek in European games as well as League games on the weekend.
The Catalan questioned why the rule that is acceptable to UEFA and FIFA was not acceptable in the Premier League.
Manchester City are having issues on the opposite end of the park from Liverpool, having no natural striker available. Injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have left City in a difficult position.
Nathan Ake and Fernandinho join defender Benjamin Mendy. The latter has certainly become familiar with watching from the sidelines after several injuries during his first few seasons at the club.