Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has claimed that the introduction of five subs to the Premier League this season has "saved football".
The Premier League follows LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and the Bundesliga by increasing the number of changes allowed in a game from three to five. The rule was initially introduced by leagues, including England's top flight, as a temporary measure during the 2019/2020 season due to an absence of fixtures from March to June as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The majority of Europe's top leagues decided to keep the measure in place however the Premier League scrapped it due to concerns that bigger clubs would get an unfair advantage and the gap in competitiveness within the league would continue to grow.
Earlier this year the Premier League finally made the decision to allow each team to make five substitutes per game, news which Lijnders and Liverpool welcomed.
Pep Lijnders says introduction of five subs has "saved football"
"The big thing this season and I think the most decisive aspect of this season will be how teams use the five subs because that will change massively the Premier League," Lijnders told the Press Association.
"We're really happy with that because it means that we can play intense from minute one until minute 95 - (then it is) how to use the squad, how to deal that we play every three days.
I think the rule saved football, in my opinion, because if you want to play every three days, this was one of the musts to have.
"I'm really happy that the Premier League saw that, that the clubs saw it but I think as well it is a weapon."
Both Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola were vocal critics of the league not adopting the rule change last season given the fact that it was in place for the Champions League and domestic cup games.
Klopp and Guardiola were particularly concerned about their players picking up injuries if they only had three subs at their disposable. Last season Liverpool played 63 competitive fixtures in comparison to Aston Villa's 41, with the risk of injuries higher the more games a player is involved in.
Klopp hit out at journalists in February when asked whether having five subs would give his team an unfair advantage.
"I cannot believe that somebody who earns his money talking about football 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 doesn't get it..."
👊🏽 Fair to say Jurgen Klopp wanted to set the record straight, with this almost 4-minute response! pic.twitter.com/mZCNUttdNk
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) February 18, 2022
With the intensity of the Premier League being higher than Europe's other major leagues the rule change will come as welcome news to Klopp, Lijnders, Liverpool and many others in the top flight.