By David Woods

11th Dec, 2020 | 11:30am

MOT View: How Leeds will line-up v West Ham tonight after shock early team news

Leeds United fans were already reeling from the long-term injury to Robin Koch when they were hit with the shock news that Diego Llorente is also out injured for the game tonight. 

That double blow is particularly cruel on Llorente who was forced into action sooner than Marcelo Bielsa wanted after Koch limped out of the Chelsea game.

Koch won’t be back until the spring while Llorente will miss two-to-three weeks.

That was the first shock from the press conference. The other – at least for people not used to the Leeds manager – was Bielsa naming his starting XI.

He did leave one thing for David Moyes to guess at, though, saying that either Kalvin Phillips or Luke Ayling could start at centre-back alongside Liam Cooper.

If Phillips plays there then Bielsa will need someone to step into the holding midfield position, which is so important to the Leeds system.

That’s the least likely route in our minds. Why weaken the strongest position on the field for Leeds when the backline is already going to be disrupted?

Mateusz Klich is much better in a more advanced position and Stuart Dallas would not deliver the same level of control.

We think that Ayling will move into the centre of defence, leaving Gjanni Alioski on the left and Stuart Dallas on the right.

The rest of the side writes itself and we’re particularly excited about seeing Rodrigo and Raphinha start together for the first time.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Strange’ – Phil Hay claims one thing odd about Leeds summer signing that has left player angry