Here are your Leeds United evening headlines on Tuesday, February 22.
Robinson backs Bielsa’s Raphinha decision
Marcelo Bielsa’s choice to leave his best player on the bench for, what supporters consider, Leeds’ biggest game of the season was widely questioned when the dust had settled on the defeat.
The 25-year-old quickly showed why it was the wrong decision to leave him out of the starting line-up as he scored the game’s equalising goal within 10 minutes of being introduced from the bench.
Although, Paul Robinson felt that Bielsa was justified in his decision to drop Raphinha after his recent struggles.
“Two or three months ago, it would’ve been unthinkable to drop Raphinha when he’s linked with Bayern Munich, Liverpool and top Champions League clubs,” he told MOT Leeds News.
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“Realistically, Bielsa is dropping his best player. The first half didn’t go according to plan for Leeds and you can argue he changed the game slightly in the second half but you don’t undermine the manager.
“It just shows that the minimum requirement with Bielsa is maximum effort and he wasn’t getting that from Raphinha.
“Over the last few weeks, his performances weren’t anywhere near and regardless of who you are and what country you play for, you don’t play for them if you don’t do what Bielsa asks, which is why the manager has gained so much respect.
“You’ve got to respect him for that decision.”
Klopp confirms duo set to miss Leeds visit
Despite travelling to face title challengers Liverpool tomorrow night, Leeds’ hopes of victory will be boosted by a key duo being ruled out by Jurgen Klopp.
Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino were unavailable for the Reds’ win against Norwich on Saturday and will not be involved again when Marcelo Bielsa’s side travel to the North-west.
In his pre-match press conference, the Liverpool boss gave a clear answer to a question asking whether the two forwards will be available for the visit of Leeds.
“No for tomorrow, no chance,” said Klopp. “For the [Carabao Cup] final, we will see. I really don’t know in the moment.
“We have to see what we can do with the boys in the next few days and then we make a decision later in the week.
“I would love to have Bobby and Diogo available. That will not happen for tomorrow night. It is like it is.”
Read more here.
Leeds injury latest from Bielsa
As for Wednesday’s visitors, they are still navigating their way through an injury crisis of their own as a handful of first-team regulars remain out of contention for the Liverpool clash.
After being withdrawn early against Manchester United following a nasty blow to the head, Robin Koch will not be available in line with the Premier League’s concussion protocols.
However, it seems his absence is the only new one after Bielsa replied: “No, none in particular,” when asked whether there was any other news on the injury front.
There is still a question mark over whether Raphinha will be included in the starting XI after he was dropped to bench on Sunday.
“The fact he didn’t start the last game doesn’t mean his role or hierarchy in the team doesn’t mutate,” said Bielsa on the subject of the Brazilian winger.
“The team is always made up of more than 11 starters.”
Read more from the Leeds head coach’s pre-match press conference here.