He didn’t get namechecked by one Jürgen Norbert Klopp, but West Bromwich Albion manager sure did notice the German’s comments towards Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. After squeaking by a 1-0 win against the Blades, the Baggies boss commented on Liverpool FC manager’s comments regarding Wilder and the five-substitute rule situation. He had a rather diplomatic view of everything:
We’re all selfish. It’s not selfish in a negative way. You have a job, it’s your responsibility to do the job and part of that is finding ways to suit your team and how they can affect your club better.
Klopp is also selfish, he’s looking at it from his point of view, or the big clubs - he’s not the only one of course.
He’s very vocal, and I respect him for that. He’s not hiding, he has his opinion. At the same time, I agree with Chris Wilder - we’re looking at what is best for us.
The difference between three subs and five subs when we play those sides is our advantage, against those big clubs.
Scott Parker said it best - the decision should be made by the authorities, by the Premier League or the FA. Maybe I’m not going to agree with it, but I’d have to go along with it.
We all want to protect the players. It’s not like Chris Wilder - and it’s a paradox, because Chris Wilder can’t afford injuries, because he doesn’t have a massive squad - doesn’t care about the welfare of the players.
He cares a lot, but when he puts on the scales what is important, and what is giving his team a better position, it’s three subs definitely. It’s the kind of decision that shouldn’t be left to us, it should’ve been down to the authorities.
It’s a valid view, sure... but it’s worth nothing that even the non-Europe playing sides have looked knackered as of late and it’s affecting the quality of play across the entire Premier League. And then when you factor in all the soft tissue injuries that have been occurring, it just seems like a no-brainer to adopt the five substitutes rule again. However, the Premier League has been known to zig when others zag, so we’ll see.