Leeds United head into Saturday night’s Premier League meeting against Liverpool in a disastrous run of form, with Jesse Marsch’s side last picking up three points in the division back in August, having since lost six of their eight top-flight fixtures.
However, with the 48-year-old revealing in his pre-match press conference that he has a number of injury concerns ahead of the trip to Anfield. Joe Gelhardt, Rodrigo, Luis Sinisterra, Leo Fuhr Hjelde, Tyler Adams and Liam Cooper are all doubts, while Adam Forshaw and Stuart Dallas remain sidelined, so getting a result against the Reds would not appear overly likely.
However, considering the Whites’ poor results in recent months, coupled with an away day against last season’s Champions League runners-up being something of a free hit, perhaps these fitness concerns could afford Marsch the opportunity to hand some valuable first-team minutes to a number of his more exciting youth prospects at Thorp Arch.
Initially, it had appeared that the Italy international had quickly jumped ahead of Gelhardt in Marsch’s attacking pecking order, with the teenager being named on the bench in the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa at the start of October – a game in which the former Wigan Athletic starlet was left out of the American’s squad altogether.
However, despite making a further two appearances in Marsch’s Premier League matchday squads, as well as the Italian “wonderkid” – in the words of Football Talent Scout Jacek Kulig – regularly catching the eye in Michael Skubala’s under-21 side, the 48-year-old is yet to afford the youngster his first senior minutes for the Whites.
With both Rodrigo and Gelhardt now unlikely to be fit to feature against the Reds tonight, though, Italy’s youngest-ever goalscorer – who Roberto Mancini claimed is “like few others” – could finally be handed his chance to shine in the first-team at Anfield.
Considering the hype surrounding the six-cap international’s ability, coupled with his impressive showings for the under-21s, it would indeed appear wise for Marsch to let the £9m-rated talent loose against Liverpool.