Liverpool and all other teams in the Premier League will be allowed five substitutions per game for the remainder of this season and the entirety of next – if FIFA’s latest proposal is given the green-light.
Football’s primary governing body thinks it will help reduce injuries to players who will have been off the field for a serious length of time due to the coronavirus.
“When competitions resume, such competitions are likely to face a congested match calendar with a higher-than-normal frequency of matches played in consecutive weeks,” a FIFA spokesperson said.
“Safety of the players is one of FIFA’s main priority then. One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload.
“In light of this and in light of the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, FIFA proposes that a larger number of substitutions be temporarily allowed at the discretion of the relevant competition organiser.
“In competitions where less than five substitutions are currently allowed, each team would now be given the possibility to use up to five substitutions during the match, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra time, where relevant.”
It’s always really annoying in friendlies when managers peddle out the subs in the second-half, as the rhythm of games completely goes.
But in competitive fixtures, you’d assume managers will use them more wisely – although there’s definitely a scenario at the end of this campaign when sides who have nothing to play for use the second-half to blood youngsters or give games to those unhappy on the bench.
For Liverpool, it might mean Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones get some minutes – although we imagine that will only be once the Premier League is wrapped up.
The current idea is for the competition to resume behind closed doors in June, although this depends on government regulations and if the pandemic shows signs of an end.