FAILURE to recruit in the January transfer window is threatening to undermine Leeds United’s fight to stay in the Premier League.

While other relegation rivals brought in fresh players or changed managers, the Whites could not get any deals over the line to beef up their thin squad.

Given the amount of long-term injuries the club has suffered this season to key players - like Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Liam Cooper - it is a big risk to soldier on without reinforcements.

Away victories for fellow strugglers Burnley and Watford cranked up the pressure at LS11 before Sunday’s 4-2 home defeat against Manchester United.

A glance at the respective benches at Elland Road on Sunday told its own story. The Red Devils’ dugout was packed with seasoned internationals while six of the nine Leeds substitutes mustered just 10 Premier League starts between them.

With the game evenly poised at 2-2 after a stirring Leeds fightback from 2-0 down, it was the Manchester United substitutes Fred and Anthony Elanga who scored to take the three points back across the Pennines.

Leeds have shipped 50 Premier League goals – only three less than bottom club Norwich who have played a game more. Many Whites followers are fearing the worst when they travel to title-chasing Liverpool, who can trim Manchester City’s advantage at the top to three points after Tottenham’s stunning win at the Etihad on Sunday, tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Liverpool have won their last eight games in all competitions while Leeds have mustered just one point from a possible 12.

Despite the poor run of results, the majority of Leeds fans remain firmly behind coach Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine will not waver from his attacking approach which top sides like Liverpool have the personnel to take full advantage of.

Bielsa is never afraid to make a bold selection calls, but dropping star man Raphinha against Manchester United was a major surprise. The Brazilian came on at half time to improve Leeds, bringing the scores level at 2-2.

If Raphinha is left out at Liverpool, eyebrows will be raised further but another major concern is how to fill the defensive midfield role. Robin Koch occupied that position before going off with a cut to his head and it is not clear if he will be available because of head injury protocols.

Liverpool will be without injured duo Firmino and Diogo Jota.

What is certain is that the problem of Leeds’ lack of strength in depth won’t be cured at Liverpool. Many of the visiting seats on the bench will still be occupied by youngsters while sat behind Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will be a host of star names.

Klopp said it was his substitutes and a change of system that made all the difference as they battled back from a goal down to beat Norwich 3-1 on Saturday. Leeds simply do not have that luxury.