Good Day, fellow Reds! On Thursday at 2:45 pm EST, Liverpool take a trip to the East Midlands, as Lincoln City host the “Reigning, Defending, Undisputed” Champions of England. Lincoln City currently sit second in League One. They are on a bit of a hot streak, as they have won all five of their competitive matches this season. This third round matchup of the EFL Cup will be the first match between these two clubs since a 2-0 Liverpool win at Anfield back on 25 February 1961 – back when both clubs were in the Second Division.
The weather at LNER Stadium looks like it should be your typical English night: weather in the high 50s, with a 70% chance of rain, and wind gusts approaching 25 mph. Looks like possession and being able to play out of the back will be beneficial, instead of launching balls over the top of the defense.
For Liverpool, this opponent lends itself well to giving an opportunity to rest some of our players who are injured or not at 100%.
Jordan Henderson was subbed off at halftime against Chelsea with a quad injury. Even without it though, I doubt he would feature in this match. Joel Matip is said to be out until the International break with what is being called a “muscle injury.” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still out for the foreseeable future with his knee injury. Joe Gomez is day-to-day with the knock he picked up prior to the last game. And Xherdan Shaqiri is probable after he played in a closed-door friendly on Sunday, coming back from a muscle injury. With Shaq, it is almost to the point of reaching Lazar Markovic status in terms on him being on the payroll and not playing.
Lineup and Predictions (or a wild guess)
As we have seen in the past, Klopp likes to use these early cup matches as an experiment and sort of feeling out process for what he has in reserve. That being said, I will throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks:
Adrian starts here, because if not now then when? This game should play more to Neco Wiliams‘ pace, so put him in at right back. Virgil Van Dijk almost has to play because lack of depth right now at center back. I would not be surprised to see the “Man Child” Billy Koumetio start next to him there and have some on-the-job training. Robertson’s been running his kilt off so far this year, so look for Konstantinos Tsimikas to start at left back and give him a breather.
Now, the rest of the lineup is where it gets fun (at least for me). Who will be in the middle three and front three?
Based on the newcomers in the back four, I believe there should be some experience in the midfield. Thiago will be the anchor with Naby Keita running down the one side making things happen, and Curtis Jones doing what he does down the other side. Up front look for new signing Diogo Jota to get his debut. In the middle will be Minamino. And I think Divock Origi starts here. If not him, Harvey Elliot should take his place in the starting lineup, and maybe that will be the telltale sign that Origi could be in the process of moving on.
MOTM: Score me a goal Curtis Jones, Curtis Jones.
As for the score line, I would not be surprised if we squeaked out a 2-1 victory, nor would I be surprised if we won 5-0. These early season cup ties are always a trek into the unknown, especially with so many different lineup options.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments!