Never one to mince words, Jurgen Klopp made his thoughts clear when asked on Monday about his feels on extending the number of substitutions per game from three to five.
It’s the worst week on record for confirmed Covid cases in the Premier League, yet the games continue to pile up. Klopp supports the initiative and took some time to decry other Premier League managers who say that this change would give bigger clubs like Liverpool with a deeper bench an unfair advantage.
While that may be true on paper, Klopp conceded, that doesn’t take into account the disadvantage of playing so many more games with European fixtures and international matches thrown in as well.
“[It is said] City has better subs than I don’t know, Southampton, and we have better subs than Burnley or whatever,” Klopp said, clearly frustrated with the situation. “Yes, that’s probably true, whatever that means exactly because it’s the Premier League and they still can cause us problems and all these kind of things. But if you talk about the quality without playing, the transfer market and all these kind of things, then that’s the case.
“The problem is, this intensity for a top-class footballer in England is definitely at the edge. A top-class player in England plays 38 Premier League games [and] two cup competitions so even when we don’t go to the final, let’s just put on another five - 43 [games]. They have international games with their national teams because pretty much all of them play for their national teams, so eight, nine, 10 games a year. Plus Champions League games, the further you go the more games there are, so you come pretty quickly in an area with more than 50 games.”
Burnley in particular, it seemed, were at the top of his mind, because he went on to call them out specifically.
“Now the decision about it is made, we realized again in the managers’ meeting that the decision is made by 14 clubs. I think you need 14 votes to change it and that is something wrong. As an example, Burnley, I am not sure how many players of them play international football. When our players have three games, they have no game. So they play 38 Premier League games, cup games, another two, three, four, that makes it 42.
“We talk about an issue which some clubs definitely have, some players definitely have, but it’s decided by other teams and because you make kind of a competition of it it’s like, ‘No, they are better than us’ and stuff like this. That’s a real problem, I have to say, that’s a real problem.”