Liverpool and Man City motives scrutanised over five subs rule

Andros Townsend has questioned the motives of clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City for demanding the return of five subs.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and City’s Pep Guardiola both spoke out on the issue after the two sides drew 1-1 on Sunday, and are lobbying for change along with many other clubs.

They claim five subs are necessary to protect over-worked players from burnout – but Crystal Palace winger Townsend claims it just gives them an unfair advantage.

Townsend said: “I watched that game the other day and obviously Pep and Klopp were speaking at the end of the game.

“It’s interesting. You look, and Pep made one sub. Klopp made two. One was enforced. So, you desperately want five subs to protect the players.

“But when it comes to it, you don’t even use the three that you’re given. Not for me.

"I think it unevens the playing field. Gives an advantage to the sides with the bigger squads.

“They don’t want it when they’re playing each other but against the smaller clubs when it’s harder to break them down, they want to be able to bring on five world-class international forwards to help break down the mid-table sides.”

Palace are currently eighth in the Premier League, three places and one point higher than City, who have a game in hand, and four points behind third-placed Liverpool.

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Liverpool used five subs against Palace in a 4-0 win at Anfield in June but the Eagles have not played the Reds or City so far this season.

The last time the five-subs rule was put to the league’s 20 clubs, only 11 were in favour, with a minimum requirement of 14 needed to get the proposal through.

The Premier League is the only major European league in Europe which does not currently allow teams to make five changes in a match.

And a growing number of managers are unhappy about it.

But any attempt to bring it back remains unlikely to get enough votes.

Townsend said: “It’s fine the way it was. Three subs has worked for many years and I don’t see a reason to change it.”

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