Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has been dealt another setback this week…
According to The Athletic’s Phil Hay, central defender Diego Llorente’s absence during their 4-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday evening was likely to be down to him contracting the virus, meaning he is set to be absent for at least ten days.
‘Llorente was not confirmed as suffering from [the virus] but Bielsa’s admission that the centre-back would be missing for up to 10 days sounded like a fairly clear hint that the virus had got to him. But there was no mass outbreak, no spread of infections, so the game went ahead,’ he wrote in a recent column.
Instead, Robin Koch, who has been out injured since August, was thrown straight into the starting XI, as a result of the Spaniard’s omission.
This would be yet another cruel blow to Bielsa and the Yorkshire giants, who have been dealing with an array of injury woes since the start of the season.
The situation is that bad that the bench was full of the club’s academy prospects, including 15-year-old Archie Gray. As many as 11 first-team players missed the clash through injury.
Llorente joined Charlie Cresswell as the latest two to miss out, having already been without the likes of star defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips and leading talisman Patrick Bamford, as well as attacking duo Jack Harrison and Dan James.
Pascal Struijk, Rodrigo, captain Liam Cooper and Jamie Shackleton are all also on the treatment table, whilst Junior Firpo was suspended.
What an absolute nightmare.
Now the 28-year-old is expected to be out for the next week or so means he is surely likely to miss the Whites’ Boxing Day clash with Liverpool at Anfield, so they could well be in line for another thrashing, having lost 7-0 to Man City recently.
Currently sat just three points behind the league leaders, Jurgen Klopp’s side could close the gap with a win against Leeds on Sunday.
Not having a first-choice defender available again after back-to-back embarrassments is certainly a huge blow to Bielsa, who must be absolutely fuming by this dire situation seemingly getting worse every week.
It could get worse yet with a trip to Merseyside on the horizon.