Javi Gracia will have some decisions to make on Monday night as Leeds United take on Liverpool, after suggesting a number of players could be missing through injury – and he should start Adam Forshaw in midfield at Elland Road.
Following a 5-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, and Gracia stating on Friday in his press conference that there are some players missing through injury – without naming names – there will be decisions to make. Forshaw, though, is fit.
While Gracia suggested there is a chance that Max Wober could be fit to play against Liverpool, it will be a big risk to chuck the Austrian into the starting line-up after a month on the sidelines. The defence is weaker without Wober.
The defeat to Palace shows that Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk, who are likely to be paired on Monday night in the middle of the defence, need protection. So, packing the midfield would be a smart way to combat Liverpool’s stars.
Weston McKennie and Marc Roca, if fit, will certainly start the game. But instead of playing with a no.10 and leaving gaps, perhaps it would be smart to play with another more defensive-minded midfielder. Like Gracia did at Arsenal.
Javi Gracia should start Adam Forshaw as Leeds take on Liverpool
In the 4-1 loss, the gameplan looked as though it was working before Luke Ayling fouled Gabriel Jesus. On that day, Gracia used Rasmus Kristensen in a three with Roca and Jack Harrison. But now, £28k-a-week Forshaw is ready.
Like Gracia did in the FA Cup at Fulham, using two defensive midfielders and McKennie as a box-to-box option gives Leeds the tools to cope with Liverpool’s possession, improve the defensive screen – but keep an attacking output.
McKennie has the fitness to get up and down. So, a midfield three of Forshaw and Roca sitting in front of the back four, along with McKennie in front of them, makes Leeds look sturdy. Even if, Forshaw only lasts an hour or so.