By Craig Scott

20th Aug, 2021 | 6:15am

Diego Llorente ruled out of Leeds United v Everton

Marcelo Bielsa has ruled Diego Llorente out of playing for Leeds United against Everton at Elland Road on Saturday.

Llorente, 28, missed the 5-1 defeat away at Manchester United last weekend with Liam Cooper partnered by Pascal Struijk in his absence.

And it seems that the Spain international’s spell on the sidelines will continue, although Bielsa feels the centre-back could be in contention to return next week.

“It’s probable he will have chances to compete again next week,” said Bielsa in his press conference on Thursday, as quoted by LeedsLive.

We desperately need him

Llorente is Leeds’ best centre-back, based on what we saw from the former Real Sociedad ace last season.

Unfortunately, we haven’t had a good enough dose of Llorente in Bielsa’s defence due to the Spaniard’s continual issues with injuries.

We can forgive him for that because he still may be trying to adapt to the gruelling fitness demands of Bielsa and the latter part of last season saw him get a good run of matches.

Leeds just defend better when he’s in the side.

Llorente played 15 times in the Premier League last season and we conceded far fewer goals with him than without him.

Cooper, Struijk and Robin Koch, who played in the midfield, all failed to impress in the hammering at the hands of Man United last week and having Llorente return as soon as possible would be brilliant.

We don’t want him to be rushed back though because he came back too soon twice last season and had setbacks.

Let’s take our time and maybe he’ll be back fully for September.

In other Leeds United news, Bielsa has found the “perfect” player to replace Pablo Hernandez with a deal close.