Jurgen Klopp and his fellow Big Six managers face further frustration in their battle to introduce five substitutions in the top flight, with the Premier League seemingly reluctant to sanction the change at this stage of the season.
Sportsmail has learned that a discussion on altering the rules to permit five rather than three substitutions is not on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Premier League clubs despite Klopp’s claim that 15 of the 20 managers are in favour of making the change.
The Premier League twice voted against making allowing five substitutions during games before the start of the season after it was permitted during last summer’s finish to the previous campaign, but the impact of fixture congestion and the large number of injuries sustained across the league has led to some clubs changing their position since the last proposal gained just nine votes in September.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp faces more frustration in trying to introduce the five subs rule
Klopp reignited the debate after James Milner and Andy Robertson suffered muscle injuries during last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Brighton by claiming that he had the backing of 14 other managers, and accused Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder of being selfish for opposing the change.
The EFL reacted to the views of their managers by moving from three to five substitutions after last month’s international break, but the Premier League appear in no rush to follow suit.
While club executives will be free to discuss the issue at Thursday’s meeting it is not a formal agenda item, which will be dominated by talks over how to capitalise on the imminent return of fans to stadiums, so an imminent vote on the matter is unlikely.
The Premier League could opt to compromise by moving to five substitutions at the halfway point of the season if at least 14 clubs are in favour, on the grounds that such a change would raise fewer concerns over the integrity of the competition.
Klopp and Pep Guardiola are united in their belief that five substitutes would prevent injury
|Team||What the Manager Said|
|Manchester City||‘We don’t protect the players, that’s why it’s a disaster.’|
|Liverpool||‘It’s not an advantage, it’s a necessity. 100 per cent.’|
|Manchester United||‘I cannot believe the vote went against, because we have to look after the players’|
|Arsenal||‘We have to protect (players) as much as possible.’|
|Chelsea||‘Everywhere else has five subs, so we have to revisit this.’|
|Brighton||‘It lightens the load… and gives a help towards the players.’|
|Southampton||‘Five subs in this special season with this very intense time… It’s OK for me.’|
|Go With It|
|West Ham United||‘For this season only… I wouldn’t be against going to five substitutions.’|
|West Brom||‘It would help to keep the health of the players. The Premier League must decide.’|
|Leicester City||‘I wouldn’t be against being able to use five substitutes in a game.’|
|Everton||‘I am for three… but if five can help the health of the players we can have five.’|
|Tottenham||‘I am OK with three; I am OK with five.’|
|Fulham||‘If five subs is proven to improve player wellbeing… ‘I’ll be the first to say I understand’|
|Crystal Palace||‘I’d be happy enough to say if it’s what everybody wants, go along with it.’|
|Burnley||‘For the big clubs who play lots of games, of course it is useful.’|
|Sheffield||‘I’m bothered about Sheffield United and it doesn’t help us to have five subs.’|
|Newcastle||‘I voted against it. I still don’t think [lack of subs] is the real reason of players’ fatigue.’|
|Wolves||‘My opinion doesn’t change. I am not 100% sure [more subs is] going to prevent injury.’|
|Aston Villa||‘I’m not seeing any trends from my players that suggest player welfare is an issue.’|
|Leeds United||Marcelo Bielsa is the only manager not to have clarified his position, but Leeds were previously reported to have opposed the return to five substitutes|