Much has been made of Jurgen Klopp’s meltdown live on TV after Liverpool’s draw against Brighton and Hove Albion.
At the centre of the German’s ire was the lack of recovery time for his players between a Champions League game on a Wednesday night, and then an early Saturday lunchtime kick-off.
In some quarters it would appear to have been dismissed as ranting by a manager bitter at not taking all three points, but after losing James Milner to injury, and so many other players already in this atypical season, perhaps Klopp has a point.
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He certainly has the support of the sport science community.
“This rule change [5 subs] may help to face congested schedules and benefit injury prevention,” Gustavo Mota, research leader at the University of Triangulo Mineiro in Brazil said, cited by the Daily Star.
That point was also backed up by Dr David Archer, a sports scientist at the University of Sunderland.
“The main reasons are the disruption to pre-season and then disruption in the season [due to fixture congestion],” he said, cited by the Daily Mirror.
“I can see this season being an exceptional one. Even if [the pandemic] rolls forward to next year it is more likely there will be a normal pre-season.”
With only one Champions League group stage game left, there’s unlikely to be further problems until the premier European tournament returns for the knockout stages in March.
It will be interesting to see if any other English clubs are affected by then, and whether their stance is similar to Klopp’s.