Five substitutes. Everywhere has gone with it except the Premier League.
Even the English lower leagues have embraced it now. But there remains one stubborn holdout, much to Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s chagrin.
No one has been more vocal about this than Klopp. He’s been clear that he sees this as necessary to protect the players in the condensed season, and the Reds’ injury pile up has surely only hardened his stance.
“If you ask a player, as long he can walk he wants to play. That’s good. My job is to find out if he underestimates the situation, or overestimates himself or whatever,” This Is Anfield report Klopp as saying.
“But the boys are usually fit and used to a lot of intensity during the season.
“We use every source we can have. Most of the things we are used to doing alone and have to do alone, but we need help from the outside as well.
“We don’t speak about us as Liverpool or whatever, we have to make changes again with the subs, we have to talk about the fixture list and all these kinds of things.
“Because our hands are, from a specific point, tied, because we cannot do it quicker.
“At Christmas, we will play again in less than 48 hours and we’ll have this discussion and everybody looks at me, ‘he’s talking about it again’.
“But this is from a physical standpoint. It’s possible, but really dangerous. What we do over the season is pretty much the same; it’s possible, but really dangerous.
“With the discussions around – and I take it really seriously – dementia and the concussion stuff with heading, if people would have talked about that 50 years ago we wouldn’t have to discuss about it today.
“Now we’re in a really difficult situation, where players are more under threat than before because of the situation the whole world is in, and so we have to make sure that we help as much as we can.
“We really have to talk about these things because otherwise nothing will change, and things have to change.
“And thank god, we had two days ago this manager’s meeting, and if we would have voted that day then it would have been 15-5 in favour of five subs.
“But we couldn’t vote, because managers aren’t allowed to do that. If it would have, it was from 11-9 in favour of three subs [in September] to 15-5 in favour of five subs.
“So now, hopefully, the deciders can make the next steps.”
I’ll admit this is something I’ve changed my mind on. The injuries are coming thick and fast, and we’re asking the players to play so much football. It’s really damaging. Either more subs come in, or less football.
And we know there isn’t going to be less football.