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Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard does not foresee another push for the Premier League to introduce five substitutes after the suggestion was again voted down.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been leading the campaign for teams to be allowed to make up to five changes in matches, owing to the congested nature of the season.

Premier League sides were allowed five substitutes when the competition restarted in June but voted to return to three subs for 2020-21.

Opposition has come from clubs with smaller squads, who claim being able to use five changes only benefits the bigger teams and, on Thursday, the proposal was turned down again, though nine players can now be named on the bench.

The Premier League is the only major European competition not to allow five changes, but Lampard is not expecting there to be any further votes on the matter.

“I think that’s it now, I don’t know how many more times we can go through it,” Lampard told a news conference ahead of Monday’s game against West Ham.

“It doesn’t worry me, it is what it is. Some clubs have decided it was in their better interest to not have the subs and that overrode what we felt, just as the managers.

“It wasn’t a manager vote, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter what the managers felt. It’s a difficult one to talk about because people think you’re whining too much but I just thought it was something which would help the player welfare.”

Klopp came under some scrutiny for not using any changes in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Tottenham on Wednesday, though the Reds boss did use three substitutes in Saturday’s 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also kept the same XI on for 90 minutes in a match against Fulham this month.

It was the first time Liverpool had not made a change in a league match since May 2004, while it had been over 15 years since City made no alterations.

Chelsea have used 35 substitutes so far this Premier League season – two fewer than Liverpool – which is the joint-fifth-lowest amount in the top flight.

Asked if player welfare is the main factor in deciding who to take off in a game, Lampard replied: “With the three subs that you’re allowed now, I felt – and I think some other managers have said this – really you have two. You have to save the third.

“I don’t think when you’re in the game you’re always thinking about the number of subs to use.

“In the defeat at Wolves, it was hard for me to make that third sub even though I thought we looked tired, because if I try to inject some fresh legs into the team, does that tiredness force someone else to go down?

“There are multiple reasons where you work around those subs. Five subs would have given me more options to change in games, lessen the risk of getting injured and keep players fitter, but it’s gone now.”

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December 21, 2020
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