The 30-year-old has been on the books at Leeds since the summer of 2014 and has been an integral part of Marcelo Bielsa’s core group at the club, remaining a fixture in the side even after they earned promotion from the Championship.

 

Despite strong competition from the likes of Pascal Struijk, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, Cooper has been one of the first names on Bielsa’s team-sheet and played every minute of top flight football for Leeds this season until he picked up an injury in early December in their 2-2 draw against Brentford.

 

 

However, former top flight star Lawrenson, who pointed out that Leeds were not great defensively last term and have continued to struggle in that department this season, stressed centre-back Cooper is not up to the required standards at Premier League level.

 

Lawrenson feels the English top flight is too much for Cooper, but admitted he is an outstanding player in the Championship.

 

 

Asked whether he thinks it is a good time for Liverpool to play Leeds, Lawrenson told Off The Ball before the game was postponed: “That is a good time because Leeds, as good as they were last year, they were not great defensively.

 

“And you look at people like Cooper, who I think it is too much for him at this level.

 

“He is an outstanding centre-back in the Championship but not at this level.”

 

 

Leeds have had a clutch of key players sidelined owing to injury including Cooper, who was unavailable for selection in their last three Premier League games, in which they conceded a combined 17 goals.

 

It remains to be seen when the clash between Liverpool and Leeds will now be played; the postponement happened due to covid cases in the Leeds squad.