Gabriel Agbonlahor believes that the Premier League’s decision to allow managers to make five substitutions from next season will benefit some of Liverpool’s fringe players – most notably Joe Gomez.
Jurgen Klopp has called for the rule change in the past so today’s announcement will be much to the delight of the 54-year-old – the Premier League is the only league in Europe’s top-five divisions that didn’t allow for five substitutions this season.
“Liverpool will have the chance to take off Salah, Firmino, Mane and even Jota, Henderson, bring on Diaz, Origi, Keita, Chamberlain,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT (via Rousing The Kop).
“Imagine the changes they can make.”
“They could even take off a centre half and bring Gomez on for Van Dijk if they’re two or three-nil up.”
In other competitions this season, five substitutions have been allowed and Klopp has often used that to his advantage.
In the first leg of our last 16 Champions League tie with Inter Milan at the San Siro, Klopp made four changes before we took the lead and he also made four substitutions before Diogo Jota scored the winning goal against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup clash before the international break.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is still recovering from a hamstring injury that ruled him out of both of England’s international friendlies recently meaning fellow defender Gomez may therefore be offered minutes against Watford at Anfield on Saturday.
The 24-year-old has made 15 appearances for the Reds this term but has played only 102 minutes of Premier League action.
Being allowed to make five subs will certainly mean that our so-called fringe players will earn more minutes, but does that mean they’ll be happy?
Earning five minutes at the end of the game when you’re 3-0 up won’t really please any player, it’s minutes from the start that Gomez is craving.
He was always going to be up against it this term with the return to form for Virgil van Dijk and quality competition for a spot next to the Dutchman coming in the form of the impressive Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate.
We certainly hope this rule change will benefit us and our players, though.
With the lack of game time for Gomez, there will be ongoing speculation surrounding his future – let’s hope he can continue to work hard and take the chances when they come his way.