Leeds United are facing an anxious wait regarding the fitness of Liam Cooper ahead of Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Arsenal.
According to a recent report by Leeds Live, there has still been no confirmation on the current condition of the centre-back, who missed the Whites’ 4-0 defeat against Manchester City on Saturday after pulling out of the warm-up with a knee injury, with it being unclear as to whether the Scotland international will be available for the trip to north London this weekend.
Speaking after the loss to City, Jesse Marsch said of Cooper’s injury: “So first, Liam had a weird feeling in his knee and warm up after making a pass. Nobody’s really sure exactly what it is and he will need a scan. We’re hopeful, hopeful that it’s not a major issue, but we will see.”
Considering just how important a player Cooper is to the Whites, both Marsch and the Elland Road faithful will surely be worried about the club captain’s fitness ahead of the Arsenal clash this weekend.
Indeed, after making a return to first-team football following his recovery from a hamstring injury at the start of April, the £6.3m-rated man proved just how crucial he is within Leeds’ backline over the club’s three Premier League fixtures prior to the City game, earning a SofaScore match rating of 7.1 in the draw with Southampton, a 7.6 rating in the win over Watford and a 7.6 rating in the draw with Crystal Palace – helping his side keep two clean sheets from a possible three.
This impact is something that former Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson commented on in a recent interview with MOT Leeds News, with the 42-year-old stating:
“You only have to look at when Cooper’s come back into the team when he and Kalvin Phillips kept two clean sheets. It’s not just his performances that are good but his leadership qualities are as well both on and off the field.
“Robin Koch, Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk all look better players when they play alongside Cooper just because of that. He’s got a good understanding of the game and when he doesn’t play, I think it’s more of a communication issue.
“It’ll be a big loss for Leeds if he’s out any longer. If it was a case of missing the Manchester City game and then playing the rest of the season or playing the Man City game and missing the season, they’ve made the right choice. You’d much rather him miss one and play the rest.”
Indeed, Leeds supporters will certainly hope that it was a case of Cooper either missing the City fixture or missing the rest of the season, as, with the Whites currently sitting just two points above the relegation zone, Marsch and his side desperately need the Scot orchestrating the Leeds backline over their remaining four games of the season.