Leeds United new boy Robin Koch is in line to start v Liverpool tomorrow after playing for the ‘first XI’ in a specially-arranged match ahead at the club’s training ground, Football Insider has learned.
Marcelo Bielsa pitted what he planned to be Saturday’s starting XI at Anfield against a team made up mainly of Under-23s at Thorp Arch on Wednesday.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that £13million summer signing Koch played alongside Liam Cooper at the heart of the defence for the team that were beaten 3-0 in a shortened match.
By contrast, Leeds’ other marquee summer recruit Rodrigo Moreno played for the Under-23s.
Patrick Bamford led the line for the ‘first team’ in a strong hint from Bielsa he has earmarked the former Middlesbrough man to start at Anfield.
The Argentine has less options in central defence after their failure to sign Ben White on a permanent deal.
Koch and Cooper are the only two orthodox senior centre-backs although Leeds are working on a deal to sign Croatia Under-21 international Josko Gvardiol after bidding £18million.
Luke Ayling can slot in at centre-back but he is the first choice right-back, a position where he played the best football of his career in the second half of last season.
Bielsa has more options at left-back, with Barry Douglas and Ezgjan Alioski providing competition for 2019-20 mainstay Stuart Dallas.
Bielsa gave no clues about his possible line-up at his pre-match media conference yesterday.
He explained that he had all his players available for selection, except for long-term absentee Adam Forshaw, and big-money new signings Koch and Rodrigo were “in great physical condition, ready to play.”