By Craig Scott

6th Aug, 2021 | 7:10pm

Leeds United captain Liam Cooper loses weight during pre-season - Phil Hay

Leeds United defender Liam Cooper has lost weight during pre-season training, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

The ex-Yorkshire Evening Post reporter was at Thorp Arch a couple of weeks ago to interview Illan Meslier and noticed that Cooper, 29, had shed a few pounds ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.

“I also saw [Liam Cooper] at Thorp Arch,” said Hay on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show podcast on The Athletic website.

“He looks like he’s lost even more weight which is unbelievable because I didn’t think he had any to lose – he needs to take some of mine.

“He’s had a couple of knocks but he’s not far away apparently and should be fine for the start of the season.”

That’s murderball for you

Cooper is already one of the leanest centre-backs in the Premier League but it sounds as though he’s managed to get himself even fitter in the last few months.

Marcelo Bielsa’s pre-season training can be gruelling with the Argentine demanding absolute perfection in terms of fitness.

We’ve seen players come and go at Elland Road because they’ve failed to meet Bielsa’s expectations and while Cooper was hardly someone who impressed fans before El Loco’s arrival, he’s certainly turned into a Premier League-level centre-back under his charge.

Cooper was one of the most under-rated players in the Championship during the promotion-winning season and last term he didn’t really do a lot wrong.

He did have some injury issues and only played 25 out of the 38 Premier League matches but that could be partly down to how hard he trains.

Keep up the good work, Coops.

In other Leeds United news, a talkSPORT pundit has shared what he’s heard about Marcelo Bielsa and Lionel Messi.