By Noel Whelan

12th Sep, 2021 | 12:00pm

Whelan tips unseen Leeds player to replace Raphinha v Liverpool after Hay update

Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to throw Dan James straight into the Leeds United starting XI against Liverpool as a replacement for Raphinha.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker admitted he would be “very surprised” if the new signing does not start against the Reds.

As reported by The Athletic’s Phil Hay (8th September), it is likely Fifa will try and impose a ban on Raphinha after he chose not to travel for international duty.

National sides are able to trigger a rule suspending players not released by their clubs for five days.

As such, Raphinha looks set to miss this weekend’s clash.

Whelan suggested James’ pace could cause Jurgen Klopp’s men all sorts of problems at Elland Road.

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Discussing who could take Raphinha’s place, Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge, “I wonder who that could be?

“I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t Dan James. He’s fully fit, ready to go, he’s had good games against Liverpool in the past for Manchester United.

“He will feel confident about going into this fixture. It’s a fixture where you want to see the best players out there and you’re going to.

“I think he’ll cause so many problems to Liverpool because they play with their wing-backs so high up. There’s a chance to exploit them in behind the wide areas.

“I think his pace would really trouble Liverpool on the day. He’ll be relishing the opportunity to get his Leeds United career underway.

“I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t go straight in, especially when he’s coming off the back of playing for Wales.

“He’s played in games for Manchester United as well, so there’s nothing he really needs to catch up on.”

In other news, Leeds United preparing January raid after club chief’s eight-figure reveal.