Premier League news: The flaw in Man City and Liverpool’s plan to bring back five subs


At the weekend, one match saw the collision of two of those bosses, when Manchester City hosted Liverpool.

A 1-1 draw ensued and both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp had reiterated their calls for more subs to be allowed in the lead-up to the game – but neither used their allocated three substitutions on this occasion.

Speaking on TalkSport, Townsend pointed out the different approaches taken by the two managers compared to in matches against perceived smaller sides, saying that it’s in those games where the bigger impact would be felt and thus would skew the campaign favourably toward those with greater resources.

“I watched that game; Pep made one sub, Klopp made two subs, one was enforced,” he noted.

“So you desperately want five subs to protect the players but when it comes to it, you don’t even use the three you’re given?

“Not for me, it unevens the playing field, it’s an advantage to sides with bigger squads.

“They say they don’t want it when playing each other but when they’re playing the smaller clubs and it’s harder to break them down, they want to be able to bring on five world-class international forwards to help break down the mid-table sides.

“So not for me, it’s fine the way it was, three subs has worked for many years and I don’t see a reason to change it.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is among the other managers to have called for five subs to be allowed, as is the case in most other major European leagues for 2020/21. Some have suggested smaller squads will feel the effects later into the condensed season, when a lack of rest will catch up with players and leave them below their best or injured.

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