Marcelo Bielsa has told his pre-Leicester City press conference – as per the Yorkshire Evening Post – that captain Liam Cooper will be fit to return to Leeds United’s starting line-up on Monday night, and also gave an update on Diego Llorente.
Leeds will be looking to build on their excellent 3-0 away win over Aston Villa last Friday as they play host to Leicester. However, Jamie Vardy and co. are in good form after a win over Arsenal was followed by beating AEK Athens 2-1 in Greece.
Cooper pulled out of the 1-0 defeat to Wolves in the warm-up and was completely missing from the squad that featured against Aston Villa. Kalvin Phillips and Llorente also missed the match, with Pascal Struijk and Gjanni Alioski coming in.
Asked about the fitness of the injured trio, former Athletic Bilbao and Argentina coach Bielsa confirmed that £750,000 signing (Leeds Live) Cooper has returned from the muscle injury and will be available for selection against Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes.
However, Bielsa also stated that Llorente – who picked up an injury while on international duty with Spain and is yet to make his debut – and Phillips will both miss Monday’s clash, as they continue to go through rehab in order to return.
“Cooper is fine now but Llorente won’t be fit for this weekend. It is subject to the evolution of the injury,” Bielsa said. “He’s [Cooper] at a very good level but I haven’t picked the team yet. Being able to rely on him as an option is good.”
As per Leeds Live, Bielsa gave the same answer on the timescales of Phillips and Llorente’s injuries: “It is subject to the evolution of the injury.” Phillips is expected to be sidelined until at least the end of November, while Llorente could come back soon.
Leicester, meanwhile, are nursing numerous injuries. Caglar Soyuncu and Wilfried Ndidi are expected to be sidelined until the new year, while Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne may have to wait until the end of November to play again.
Daniel Amartey will also be missing, but experienced defender Jonny Evans could feature despite missing Thursday’s game against AEK. The last time the two sides met was in the Carabao Cup in 2017, a match that saw Leicester win 3-1.