With the Premier League’s Project Restart now in full swing, wheels are in motion to get football back on our screens for our collective viewing pleasure.
God knows we’ve all missed it! Like many aspects of society though, supporters are going to have to get used to a “new normal” when it comes to a rebooted beautiful game.
Empty stadiums, socially distanced celebrations, tweaks to the rule book and grim face masks are all elements that we must sadly get used to in the coming weeks and months.
One new rule change will see clubs allowed to use up to five substitutions per game. Now the rule has been ratified by the minimum requirement of 14 cubs, there are those who fear that the new law could damage the integrity of the game.
For sure, it would benefit the teams with the biggest and deepest squads at their disposal, which you could say is an unfair advantage, especially with so much still to play for.
However, some teams would no doubt relish the opportunity to give their fringe players extra game time action this season. Here we take a look at five Liverpool squad players who would certainly benefit from the introduction of additional substitutions.
2019/20 has been a write-off for Xherdan Shaqiri. A nasty calf injury ruled him out at the start of the season and he has struggled for game time ever since. The 28-year-old has been limited to just 174 minutes of action in the Premier League this term and is rumored to be surplus to requirement at Anfield this summer.
The talented attacking midfielder would no doubt relish some extra game time in the coming weeks, even if he has to settle for a place on the bench. The extra minutes could work to help him prove his fitness and for Jurgen Klopp’s future plans, or put him in the shop window for his latest career move.
Another player whose Liverpool career has been pock-marked by injury and setbacks. The highly-rated Guinea international is a player many Reds fans yearn to see make it big at Anfield. He is clearly a talent and capable of some divine link up play between the lines, with the ball at his feet.
However, a Premier League return of just three goals and two assists from 34 games is simply not good enough. Keita was a big money signing from RB Liepzig in 2018 and must find his best form again if he is to earn more than just a bit-part role for Liverpool. With nine games and two wins separating the Reds from a 19th league title, Keita could still have a part to play. More game time certainly cannot hurt his case going forward.
Fresh from revelations that he turned down Real Madrid’s advances last summer, Harvey Elliot could be set for some meaningful action once the season restarts later this month. The 17-year-old has really caught the eye in his seven first team appearances this season. For one so young, he is exceptionally gifted and staggeringly confident. There are huge hopes for him behind the scenes at Melwood.
With an additional two subs signed off by the Premier League, Elliot will no doubt feature heavily in Klopp’s match day squads. If they can wrap up the league and really enjoy themselves over the next few weeks, Elliot could thrive in a feel-good factor environment and even bag his first senior goal for the club. He certainly has the ability to excel and lay-down his credentials for next season while he’s at it.
Real Madrid were desperate to sign Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott, and asked him if he wanted to meet Sergio Ramos during a tour of the Bernabeu 🏟
🗣 Elliott: “No, it’s OK, thanks. I don’t like him after what he did to Mo Salah.” pic.twitter.com/H6FyT6Vif9
— Goal (@goal) May 31, 2020
Liverpool fans love a local lad in their team. Curtis Jones has delighted supporters with his excellent contribution in the cup games so far this season. His stunning, looping, dipping worldie from the edge of the box to win the Merseyside derby in January’s FA Cup third round clash with Everton was a thing of pure football romance, unless of course, you are an Evertonian.
His box-to-box antics, high energy and competence with the ball at his feet have really caught the manager’s attention since the turn of the year. Do not be surprised to see this lad work his way into each and every match day squad once the action resumes in a couple of week’s time. He has a good chance of featuring and will likely thrive once given the nod.
He may have the sublime Trent Alexander-Arnold ahead of him in the right-back pecking order, but Neco Williams is another youngster who is knocking loudly on the first team door at Anfield. The welsh teenager has featured five times this season, all of them in the domestic cups. excelling each time he has been given the nod for the senior team.
With Nathaniel Clyne’s Merseyside career dying out with a sad whimper, all eyes will be on Williams to see if he can provide adequate cover and competition for places. An excellent tackler and a confident player on the overlap, Williams certainly has the raw materials to succeed. Klopp may well use the additional subs rule to give the 19-year-old some Premier League minutes between now and the end of the season.