Jurgen Klopp slams Premier League rule change as Liverpool plan title defence

Jurgen Klopp has blasted the Premier League’s decision to deny clubs the chance to have five substitutions and a 20-man matchday squad this season.

Top flight sides voted against the proposal which was used for the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign following a lengthy break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool were one of the teams pushing to keep the rule in place and Klopp insisted he was baffled by the notion it could give the biggest clubs an unfair advantage.

‘I thought from a common sense point of view that in this year and only this year, and not forever, we will have 20 [players in the squad] and five [substitutions],’ Klopp said ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Leeds United on Saturday.

‘It’s not about having an advantage or we have better players and can bring five top players on the pitch.

‘I really don’t like we deal with this thing based on the wrong facts. It’s not about having advantages, it’s having the highest quality in the games for all teams.

‘That’s the thing. I was really surprised when the league decided against it. It’s really hard.

‘Look to the other countries, Bayern have the best team but they play the most games so it equals.

‘It’s not about advantage, it’s about player welfare and who can finish the game. So that changes the situation again, it’s 18 and three.

‘So you have to rotate more. It’s not about more numbers, but we need fit players we can rotate and who can face all these different challenges.

‘But that’s the job we have to do. We have to make the decisions to be as prepared as possible.’

Liverpool are still fresh off their first league title in 30 years and Klopp was asked which side he felt would be the Reds’ biggest challengers.

‘From all the other opponents, probably,’ he replied. ‘Starts with Leeds and then Chelsea, Arsenal and so on.

‘That’s how it always is. There are many challenges and they are similar to all the other years, but there are some other ones as well.

‘It’s about we press a normal season in a shorter period, which will be a proper challenge. Especially with the wonderful rule we set up with 18 and three [substitutions].

‘It’s only about player welfare, by the way. Nothing else. I don’t know why we ave to discuss it all.

‘The whole of Europe is doing it. It will be difficult, but it’s always difficult so that is not new.’

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