Leeds United v Chelsea team news: Three changes as Liam Cooper is missing but Robin Koch returns to the bench

LEEDS United captain Liam Cooper misses Saturday's Premier League hosting of Chelsea for which Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa has made three changes to his side.

By Lee Sobot
Saturday, 13th March 2021, 12:11 pm

Cooper is missing altogether whilst Helder Costa and Mateusz Klich drop to the bench as Pascal Struijk, Jack Harrison and Gjanni Alioski all come into the side.

Robin Koch also returns to the bench along with Jamie Shackleton and Kiko Casilla.

Koch has not featured since aggravating a knee problem in December's 3-1 loss at Chelsea, after which the German international underwent knee surgery.

The defender was set to play for United's under-23s against Newcastle United on Monday but now comes back on to the bench.

Shackleton also returns after a minor groin problem whilst Struijk starts despite having missed Monday night's 2-0 loss at West Ham having failed to shake off a knock suffered in the 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa.

Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa had ruled Struijk out of the Chelsea clash in Thursday's pre-match press conference.

Record signing Rodrigo is again on the bench having returned from a six-game absence due to a groin injury as a second-half substitute for Tyler Roberts in Monday night's 2-0 loss at West Ham.

MISSING: Leeds United captain Liam Cooper. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Roberts again starts and Harrison also replaces Costa out wide as Alioski comes in for Klich as the other change to the side.

Patrick Bamford makes his 100th appearance for Leeds as he again starts upfront whilst the likely pairing between Struijk and Diego Llorente at the heart of the Whites defence will be United's 13th different centre back pairing of the season.

Pablo Hernandez (muscle) and Adam Forshaw (hip) remain out.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has made six changes to his side as Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech all start having missed out on making the XI for Monday night's 2-0 win at home to Everton.

Tammy Abraham (ankle) and Thiago Silva (muscle) are both out injured for the fourth-placed Blues who are on a 12-game unbeaten run in league and cup.

Chelsea have conceded just once in their last seven games and Chelsea’s defence was last breached 417 minutes ago by Takumi Minamino in last month’s 1-1 draw at Southampton.

Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski, Phillips, Dallas, Harrison, Raphinha, Roberts, Bamford. Subs: Casilla, Koch, Berardi, Shackleton, Klich, Costa, Jenkins, Poveda, Rodrigo.

Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Chilwell, Ziyech, Jorginho, Kante, Mount, Havertz, Pulisic. Subs: Kepa, Alonso, Zouma, James, Emerson, Hudson-Odoi, Kovacic, Werner, Giroud.

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Thank you Laura Collins