Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders believes switch to five substitutes has ‘saved football’

Knowing how to properly utilise the use of five substitutes could be the most decisive aspect of the season, according to Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders.

The number of changes a team can make temporarily increased from three to five when football resumed amid the Covid-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020. 

Last October, the International Football Association Board decided to make the change permanent, but the Premier League took a different direction and chose to revert to three changes.

However, top-flight clubs in England agreed earlier this year to allow five substitutes from the start o the 2022/23 season.

The news was welcomed by Liverpool, with assistant Lijnders saying: "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.

"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."

It is a challenging dynamic that Lijnders wrote about in his new book 'Intensity' - the inside story of how Liverpool's 2021-22 campaign unfolded.

"In the book, it will explain really well how busy we were three quarters of a year ago, how we were already planning this season in terms of where do we go, what do we want," the Reds assistant said.

"We decided to go to Dubai. It's close (to Qatar) so players can come quickly back, so they can prepare quick with the team again, and it gives us real time to prepare for the second sprint of the season."

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