Soccer

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola urge Premier League to allow five substitutes

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it is “necessity” for clubs to have five substitutes per match in the Premier League, while Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has labelled the current three sub limit a “disaster”.

Klopp and Guardiola renewed their calls for the rules to be changed after Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold suffered a suspected calf injury during Sunday’s 1-1 draw at the Etihad.

The Liverpool manager has rejected claims reintroducing the five substitutes rule, which was briefly used last season after Project Restart, could favour the ‘big six’ teams in the Premier League and insists player welfare should be the priority this season.

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“All the teams have to understand why it’s so helpful. It’s not an advantage, it’s a necessity. 100 per cent,” said Klopp.

“In all other countries it happens and here we make a bit more fun of the competition by having only three subs. That is really incredible, so we have to talk again.”

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Alexander-Arnold will have a scan on Monday and is expected to withdraw from the England squad for their games against the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland later this month.

Klopp believes the Football Association should take action over the substitutes rule, or risk having more international players ruled out through injury.

“In my understanding it is a lack of leadership,” Klopp added. “It is the only big league where you have only three subs. Surprise.

“The FA has to be involved. Tonight we lost Trent Alexander-Arnold. I’m pretty sure Gareth Southgate is not fine [with that].

“If we continue like this and hopefully we can play the Euros in the summer… if they happen, let’s see who will be part of that.”

Manchester City have used all three of their substitutes twice this season and only two clubs have made fewer total substitutions, but manager Guardiola says he fully agrees with Klopp that the limit must be increased.

“All around the world it’s five substitutions, but here we believe we are more special people,” said Guardiola.

“We don’t protect the players, and that’s why it’s a disaster. In this calendar, especially. I will demand, if the people allow, we have to come back to five substitutions.

“If not, it’s difficult to sustain it.”

Keane: Very difficult for Man City to win the league

Roy Keane believes Manchester City lack the firepower needed to win the Premier League this season, after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola’s side were a distant second to the Reds last season and eight games into the 2020/21 campaign they already trail Liverpool by five points, sitting 11th in the table, six off early leaders Leicester City.

Interestingly, Man City have scored 17 goals fewer than they had at the same stage of last season, and Keane believes with Sergio Aguero struggling with injuries, they aren’t able to make their dominance count in matches – and criticised them for not investing in a striker in the summer.

“I know there were other positions they wanted to fill, a centre-half I suppose was a priority. They’ve got nobody but themselves to blame for being short on strikers. You have to have strength in depth – particularly if you’re expected to challenge for all the major trophies. I don’t see City winning the league this year.”

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