The Athletic’s Phil Hay has confirmed a major Leeds United boost over Raphinha ahead of their Premier League clash against Liverpool later today.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side appeared to be heading into the game against the Reds on Sunday afternoon without one of their talismans, with the Brazilian FA and FIFA looking to impose sanctions on those Premier League clubs who opted against sending their players out for international duty.
The likes of Raphinha, and Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino for Liverpool, were all in danger of missing today’s game, but Hay has confirmed that everything has now been cleared for the South Americans to play this weekend.
On Saturday morning, he tweeted: “Raphinha’s available for tomorrow’s game. Everyone placated and approval for him to play against Liverpool came through just before before midnight yesterday. #lufc”
Make no mistake about it, having Raphinha cleared to play against Jurgen Klopp’s side is a massive boost for Bielsa and Leeds’ chances of beating the Merseysiders.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has previously lauded the bargain that Leeds got in Raphinha, declaring: “He’s full of energy, he’s got a (good) work ethic as well where he works for the team, he just does everything right.
“I’m a big fan of his and the recruitment there to find that player, because for £17m, there will be people now scratching their head going ‘why didn’t we get him?'”
It was quite the debut campaign at Elland Road for the former Rennes man, becoming a real game-changer for Bielsa’s side in their first campaign back in the top-flight.
He ranked fourth for goals and first for his assists among his teammates in 2020/21, and his willingness to take players on and try and make things happen for his side was reflected by him averaging the most dribbles of any Leeds player with 1.9 per game.
That sort of attacking impact is exactly why Leeds fans will be absolutely buzzing at the news that Raphinha has been cleared to play against Liverpool today.