Jurgen Klopp says he just wants to talk. And there’s much to discuss.
The Liverpool manager is steadfast in his view that five substitutes is a rule that must swiftly be reinstated.
Klopp insists he is not interested in excuses and is instead seeking only to explain.
“This now is a season which is four weeks shorter but with the same amount of games,” he said on Friday.
“This is a very special time, not only for football but for the whole world. All of us have to dig in and fight hard to get through it.
“In football, it’s like this. It looks like the whole world changed but the two things which stayed were the fixture list of the Premier League and three subs.
“These are the two things we have to talk about. That’s not an excuse. That’s just an explanation.”
Just two months into the season, the Reds have already been forced to navigate through an injury crisis that hasn’t been seen for years at Anfield.
As many as a dozen of the champions’ squad have already spent significant amount of time on the shelf with the campaign still just eight games in.
Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago Alcantara, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Alisson Becker, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip have all, at one time or another, missed games through fitness issues.
Youngsters Neco Williams and Rhys Williams are being treated as precautions after respective foot and hip issues during the international break, also.
That Liverpool are left sweating on the fitness of two teenage rookies tells you a lot about where things have gone wrong this season.
It is why Klopp has been so consistent in his call for the return of the extended bench.
“It’s not about me. It’s not about Liverpool. It’s about player welfare,” he argues with conviction.
Klopp taps into his extensive knowledge of sports science when giving his very forthright view on this particular topic.
The German’s degree in the subject makes him something of an expert when he discusses players entering into the ‘red zone’ – a theoretical area that leaves footballers more susceptible to muscle problems – with his medical department.
“Please, come on, help us. That’s all I’m asking for. We have to sort it now,” was his message in a chat with former Reds captain Jamie Redknapp for the Daily Mail.
After teams were able to use five subs per game following the restart of last season, Klopp took advantage, bringing on 42 players from a possible 45.
This time around, the Reds have reached for the bench 22 times from 24 during a season that has stretched resources to their breaking point.
Klopp is not alone in his championing of the five-sub return.
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His Manchester City counterpart, Pep Guardiola, along with Frank Lampard at Chelsea and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer, have all echoed the Liverpool manager’s sentiments in recent weeks.
For some though, it is another power move by the division’s heavyweights, pushing for a cause that ultimately benefits them and their aim of glory.
That is a claim Klopp hotly disputes, but is something Burnley boss Sean Dyche feels is a natural truism.
The Clarets manager, in contrast to the view from Anfield, thinks the regulations are in perfect working order.
“For the big clubs who play lots of games of course it’s useful,” said Dyche. “It gives them the ability to use players who are fresher and more ready.
“But of course it does favour the big clubs because if you are one of the superpowers they probably carry 20 plus international footballers, so they can use them more regularly.
“It will, in my opinion, help them over a season.”
But does Dyche’s side of the argument really hold up to scrutiny?
In any particular one-off fixture, a so-called bigger club would be able to benefit from an additional two subs in an effort to change the flow of play.
That much probably cannot be contested by those who demand change.
But over the course of an already arduous campaign that has now been squeezed into a month less than normal, the smaller squads are much more likely to be handicapped by the inability to rest and rotate as often.
For example, Liverpool would feel they are able to cope with a period without Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane, as damaging as that would undoubtedly be.
After all, they head into the weekend’s fixtures just a point off top spot despite the aforementioned injury and illness list.
While the absence of either Mane or Salah would sting, the likes of an in-form Diogo Jota or Xherdan Shaqiri are capable of filling that void to an extent.
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To continue using Burnley as a case in point, would Dyche be able to handle the loss of say, Chris Wood or Ashley Barnes, in the same way?
Klopp is correct in his assertion that the battle for the return of five substitutes is not argued from a position that is politicking for an advantage.
He has simply seen too many of his and other managers’ players succumb to the exhausting, whirlwind nature of a season that is still in its formative stages.
Klopp says he only wants to explain the factors that have formed this strong stance, but he is not the one who needs to do the explaining.