Opinion: Push for 5 Premier League subs forces Liverpool to strengthen

There’s a push for the Premier League to introduce rules allowing for five subs next season. That’s a change that will force Liverpool into the transfer market.

The Times reports that the Premier League may allow five subs next season. There’s a push for it, bringing things in line with other European leagues.

The reasoning is clear – last year was intense. The regular fixture list was compacted into a shorter schedule, putting an awful lot of strain on players.

To make matters worse, this summer sees both Euro 2020 and Copa America happen. It’s all pushing players to their limits.

No one saw that more than Liverpool last season. Just about everyone in the Reds’ squad was injured at some point, many long-term. Players weren’t afforded breaks with games every few days and it decimated the squad.

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And that’s a large reason why Liverpool must enter the transfer market right now.

Premier League could allow five subs

There are two ways this affects Liverpool. The most obvious is injuries.

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Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will all return from long-term problems next season. But you can add Jordan Henderson to that – the Euros is his only football since February.

Then the likes of Fabinho, Roberto Firmino, Alisson, Andy Robertson, Thiago, and Diogo Jota are all playing at international tournaments. They won’t be 100% to start the campaign and will run risks of injuries.

But five subs give Jurgen Klopp an opportunity to rest players regularly. He can use a bigger squad, take players off when he can, and afford far more rotation.

It’s a wonderful way to lower the chances of injuries and fatigue. But he needs the players to do it.

Liverpool are weaker in depth than last season as Gini Wijnaldum leaves. Others could depart, too. The squad needs enough depth to justify the rotation.

Which brings us to another reason for change – the advantage having that depth brings. Fatigue or not, having more players increases your options and allows the team to do more.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Maybe it’s as simple as having better players to throw on late in games to take advantage of tired defences. Maybe it’s having fantastic cover for when injuries inevitably happen.

Make no mistake – having five subs benefits one Premier League club more than any and it’s Manchester City. They’ve got unrivalled depth thanks to their ingenious transfer strategy of being run by an oil state.

They have three wide players, for instance, who each cost more than any of Liverpool’s attacking options. Riyad Mahrez (£60m), Bernardo Silva (£43.6m), Raheem Sterling (£49m), and Ferran Torres (£20m) is an incredible wealth of options.

Pep Guardiola can start two bring the others off the bench, and still have three subs left. It’s a luxury no one else can match.

Liverpool need to try, though. They need to sign players this summer to help them rival that. No, they can’t spend the same kind of cash but the club must try to improve what they’ve got.

Otherwise, City’s depth will prove too much to compete with.

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