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Renan Lodi ruled out of Elche clash with thigh injury

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The Brazilian left-back will miss the trip to Elche on Saturday afternoon.

Athletic Club v Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Renan Lodi has suffered a thigh injury and will miss Atlético Madrid’s game against Elche on Saturday afternoon.

The Brazilian left-back had to bide his time for an opportunity in recent months, but his return to the starting 11 has been short-lived. The club announced Friday that the 23-year-old is the only absence for the trip to the east coast of Spain, with Atlético sitting a point ahead of the chasing pack at the summit of LaLiga.

Simeone’s starting XI up in the air

Lodi started the last three games, two wins and a loss, with Diego Simeone switching to a more-conventional four-man defence. Mario Hermoso was the one to lose out, but could return to the fold on Saturday. Belén Sánchez García reports an XI with Hermoso in.

However, the formation based on this line-up is unclear. Hermoso can play as a left-back or a left centre-back with Yannick Carrasco playing as either a traditional winger or a left wing-back.

Meanwhile, Koke continues to recover from a knock and Geoffrey Kondogbia could replace him if the captain is not ready to start.

Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Giménez, Hermoso; Correa, Llorente, Koke, Lemar, Carrasco; Suárez.

Atlético sit a point clear after Barcelona’s loss to Granada on Thursday night. The Catalans don’t play until Sunday night, when they travel to Mestalla to play Valencia. Real Madrid play on Saturday night against Osasuna, and Sevilla, who have joined the title race at the 11th hour, don’t play until Monday.

A win over Elche could leave Atlético safe at the top for another weekend as the finish line draws ever closer.