It’s almost here. Leeds United kick off their Premier League campaign against Liverpool on Saturday evening, live on Sky Sports.
Marcelo Bielsa’s preparation hasn’t been ideal. The Championship season lasted almost a year and the summer break has been truncated.
Bielsa lost a lot of his first-team players for the Nations League internationals and has had less than a week to work with the two big new signings, Robin Koch and Rodrigo.
Both players are fit and played for Germany and Spain respectively last week but are they Bielsa fit? That’s the big question on everyone’s lips ahead of the trip to Anfield.
If we had any other manager in charge we think both players would start.
However, Bielsa has his way of working and it usually involves a lot of training before new players are allowed into his side.
Will he make an exception for the current Spain number nine? We don’t think so and can see Rodrigo starting on the bench with Patrick Bamford starting up top.
The defence is a bit different. The Ben White/Liam Cooper partnership has been broken up and if Koch doesn’t play then it would likely see Ayling coming into the centre, Stuart Dallas playing right-back and Barry Douglas on the left.
The alternative is trusting Koch and that’s what we think will happen on Saturday. It’s a coin-flip in our minds and it certainly wouldn’t surprise us to see Koch on the bench, too.
But, we think the Koch/Cooper partnership will get its first outing of the season and we hope they’re the players that play the full season together.
That would represent a major change for Bielsa but we think the Premier League demands it.
This is the side that we think Bielsa will name at 4.30pm on Saturday.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Embarrassing and disrespectful from Bielsa’: Some Leeds fans fume at ‘disgusting’ club decision