By Craig Scott

17th Dec, 2021 | 8:10am

Leeds United captain Liam Cooper ruled out until new year - Phil Hay

Liam Cooper won’t play for Leeds United at least the new year, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

Cooper, 30, suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-2 draw with Brentford on 5 December and has since missed defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City.

Hay reports that the Scotland centre-back is set to miss the rest of December and won’t be available again until January, meaning he’ll definitely miss upcoming matches against Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa.

Could be worse

While there are sections of our fanbase who don’t rate Cooper, it’s definitely a blow to be without the first-choice centre-back and the club’s captain at a testing time of the season.

Diego Llorente’s form has been sub-par this season while Luke Ayling was completely exposed by Manchester City on Tuesday night.

Pascal Struijk and Robin Koch have been out too but it seems as though Koch, at least, will be available for the Whites when they welcome Arsenal to Elland Road on Saturday.

He hasn’t played since the opening day of the season so he might not start but at least there was some good news from Marcelo Bielsa’s pre-match press conference on Thursday.

We knew Cooper was going to be out for a while but it seems as though he might be back in action next month.

It’s hard to say when in January he’ll return so we guess he’ll be a doubt to play against the likes of Burnley and West Ham.

But to know that he isn’t facing the same length of time out as Kalvin Phillips is definitely a bit of good news.

In other Leeds United news, another two players have joined Leeds’ growing injury list.