Lincoln City vs Liverpool
| Thursday, September 24th |
Carabao Cup | Sincil Bank
7:45PM BST / 2:45PM EST
For the first — but definitely not the last — time in this weird season, Liverpool will take the pitch on less than a week’s rest. Thankfully, it’s a soft start, with the Carabao Cup a competition Jürgen Klopp has been more than willing to play the kids, and the opposition third tier Lincoln City.
The Imps, lead by the uncomfortably yoked for a manager Michael Appleton have started the season at a gallop, winning all four of their matches, with a combined 11-2 goal differential. Two straight wins in the league sees them in second place behind Ipswich Town and their ambitions of promotion to the Championship have kicked off in the best possible manner.
A few injuries have struck the club in the opening stanza of the campaign, however, and will have to make matchday decisions on a few starters. A proper primer on Lincoln City can be found here.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Williams, Phillips, Koumetio, Tsimikas; Thiago, Jones, Milner; Jota, Minamino, Elliott
It’s anyone’s guess what Jürgen Klopp will do here, as — despite press conference stand-in Pep Lijnders assurances of a “strong team” — the Carabao Cup has never been a priority under the German’s tenure. There is also the fact that the Reds now have genuine depth in their squad, and even making 11 changes will be able to field a Premier League level XI.
At the back, Joe Gomez and Joël Matip will miss out again, with the former likely to return in time for Arsenal at the weekend. Billy Koumetio will be subject of a fitness test tomorrow, and may start, in all likelihood next to one of Nat Phillips or Virgil van Dijk. Kostas Tsimikas is likely to spell Andy Robertson, while Neco Williams will make his second start of the season at right-back.
Despite immediately bossing things against ten-man Chelsea on Sunday, Thiago is in need of further match fitness and could be in line for a start, while Curtis Jones is a logical inclusion following his performances in cup competitions last season and subsequent development. Jordan Henderson misses out after suffering an injury at Stamford Bridge, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains unavailable. The veteran savvy of James Milner could provide a useful nexus point in midfield.
Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino were brought to the club as depth for the front three and should be allowed to play that role here, possibly alongside Harvey Elliott, who impressed massively in pre-season. Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will no doubt be in the squad however, to right the ship should things go askance.
What the Managers Said
Pep Lijnders: “We want to attack that game, show our hunger, show our desire, put a team out who represents our club – with big, big names involved, big, big players involved. And a lot of talent as well.”
Michael Appleton: “We’re playing the Premier League champions and it’s an opportunity to pit our wits against some of the best players in the country.”
Referee: Tony Harrington
Assistant referees: Akil Howson, Shaun Hudson
Fourth official: Geoff Eltringham
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.