Liverpool will be playing their first League cup game of the season on Thursday evening away to Lincoln City with a “strong team” according to assistant manager Pep Lijnders. The game will kick-off at 7:45pm and Liverpool will understandably be the favourites for the cup tie.
However, manager Jurgen Klopp is renowned for playing weaker sides in these competitions so Lincoln City will straight away be thinking they can cause the shock of the season.
Pep Lijnders done the pre-match press conference for the game which Klopp likes to let him do in the early rounds of this competition. He gave an interesting and different insight to Jurgen Klopp but some of what he had to say was not too positive at first. The Dutch-born coach offered some unfortunate team news at the start of the zoom call.
He revealed that Joe Gomez will only be back in training on Friday and then other centre back Joel Matip is out for a further two weeks. Also, captain Jordan Henderson will be a doubt for the game.
So, just like neighbours Everton, Liverpool have a shortage at centre back. Youngsters will be filling the void in Thursday night as Van Dijk and Fabinho, man of the match on Sunday, will be given a rest ahead of the big game against Arsenal on Monday.
Sepp Van Den Berg, Billy Koumetio, Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams will all be in contention to play. They will have a chance to impress the manager and potentially stake a claim for the fourth centre back position which Fabinho is currently occupying.
Koumetio will have a fitness check to see whether he can actually take part. Van Den Berg was left out of the under 21’s on Tuesday night which would indicate he will be taking part and Nathan Phillips has still not left the club after being rumoured to be departing so he may get a chance to put on the Liverpool strip once again. Williams has been impressing for the academy for a long time and may get his opportunity.
There should be eleven changes on the cards as Liverpool want to “want to attack each competition” according to Lijnders so keeping everyone fresh and also match fit will be hugely important.
Adrian will be hoping for his first minutes of the campaign but so will Irish keeper Caoimhin Kelleher however it would be a surprise to see last seasons number two not get any action. Whilst Loris Karius may even get the chance to sit on the bench.
Youngsters Neco Williams and Curtis Jones should get the chance to further enhance their experience whilst the likes of Minamino, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri may all start together as a front three unless there is a debut for new signing and “pressing monster” Diogo Jota.
There may be another debut for Greek left back Kostas Tsimikas as Andy Robertson will be given a rest. Also, Thiago might get his full debut, but it would be a surprise to see Klopp risk him for a game which is not a priority.
Harry Wilson may not get the opportunity to impress as he is reportedly in talks with Burnley about a transfer away although The Clarets are not close enough to the Welshman’s valuation so therefore he may get one last hurrah in a Liverpool shirt. If he does play hopefully, he can put in a man of the match performance to impress other potential suitors.
The game will give fans a chance to watch the players who are so eager to break into the first team whilst not having to worry about the result. It should be a nice watch but with Liverpool nothing is ever easy.