Big blow for Leeds as key first-team star ruled out of clash v Hull
Marcelo Bielsa has ruled Leeds United centre-back Liam Cooper out of the Championship clash against Hull City on Tuesday.
Cooper was a surprise omission from the 2-0 win against Huddersfield on Saturday. He missed the game with a slight calf problem but the news ahead of the match was that he should be okay for Tuesday.
That forecast has been severely downgraded by Athletic journalist Phil Hay, who reported from the post-match press conference.
“Today it could have been a risk if he played,” said Bielsa. “I don’t think this situation will change for Tuesday so we will see for next Saturday.”
With Cooper and Kalvin Phillips out for the Huddersfield game, Leeds played an unorthodox backline, with two full-backs at centre back (Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi) and Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas in the full-back spots. Ben White played in place of Phillips in midfield.
That didn’t work out so well in the first half of the game today but the goal from Alisoki early on in the second half changed the game and Huddersfield fell away dramatically after a bright first half.
Pablo Hernandez secured the points and made it the sixth win in a row, which gives Leeds some breathing space at the top. They’re one point clear of West Brom but eight ahead of Fulham who are in third. At the time of writing, Fulham are losing 1-0 to Bristol City.
Phillips will be back for the Hull clash, which means he should partner Berardi in the centre of defence.
Alioski could well have done enough to get a start with Ayling likely to go back into the right-back position. Ayling was immense today, probably the best player on the pitch for Leeds.
In other Leeds United news – Player ratings: One 28 y/o gets 5, the other a 9 – Ratings from 2-0 win v Huddersfield