Leeds United head into tonight’s Premier League meeting against Liverpool in desperate need of a positive result, with Jesse Marsch’s 18th-placed Whites currently on a run of eight games without a win.
Indeed, despite an improved performance in a 1-0 defeat to high-flying Arsenal earlier this month, a dismal 2-0 defeat at Leicester City and a 3-2 loss to promoted Fulham in Leeds’ last two outings have left many at Elland Road fearing a repeat of last season’s fight for top-flight survival could once again be on the cards in the current campaign.
While Saturday’s eighth-placed opponents are also somewhat struggling to find their best form this season, with Marsch revealing in his pre-match press conference that he is facing something of an injury crisis ahead of the trip to Anfield, it would appear as if Leeds require something special if they are to avoid defeat against Jurgen Klopp’s side this evening.
Will the 48-year-old manager make any changes to his starting XI which lined up against Fulham last time out? Here’s how we at Football FanCast predict the Leeds side could look, as well as the latest team and injury news.
Predicted Leeds XI: Meslier; Kristensen, Koch, Llorente, Struijk; Greenwood, Roca; Aaronson, Gnonto, Summerville; Perkins.
With Marsch revealing that he could be without all of Rodrigo, Joe Gelhardt, Luis Sinisterra, Leo Fuhr Hjelde, Tyler Adams and Liam Cooper for the trip to Liverpool, in addition to long-term absentees Adam Forshaw and Stuart Dallas, we predict that the American will make five changes to the side the started the loss against Fulham last Sunday.
The first two of these alterations come in the back four, with Rasmus Kristensen replacing Luke Ayling on the right and Diego Llorente filling in for the injured Cooper at centre-back, while Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk retain their starting berths at centre-back and left-back respectively.
In the middle of the park, Sam Greenwood is once again given the nod from the off alongside Marc Roca in the absence of the stricken Adams, with Darko Gyabi and Mateusz Klich having to make do with a spot on the bench.
There are two further changes in the three behind the forward, with Brendan Aaronson moving from his central position out to the right, “wonderkid” Wilfried Gnonto being handed his first-team debut in the number 10 role and Marsch making a “big call” in selecting Crysencio Summerville to start ahead of Jack Harrison – who was poor against Fulham last time out – on the left.
The fifth and final change comes up top, with the goalless Patrick Bamford – whose nine big chances missed ranks him as the most wasteful player in the Premier League this season – dropping out of the XI, with Marsch handing a second senior debut tonight to the red-hot Sonny Perkins – the England U19 international who has scored eight in 10 for the U21s in 2022/23.