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Liverpool new boys could be handed debut in tomorrow’s EFL Cup

The Reds face Lincoln City on Thursday evening with a number of promising youngsters and some new signings hoping to be given a chance to impress.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Shaun BotterillGetty Images

Liverpool travel to Sincil Bank on Thursday evening for their EFL Cup third round tie with Lincoln City. Jurgen Klopp’s first choice team will be rested after victory over Chelsea last Sunday and the Reds’ boss will have an eye on the Premier League clash with Arsenal next Monday.

Last season Liverpool began their EFL Cup campaign with a win over MK Dons, for which Klopp made 11 changes from the side who had won at Stamford Bridge the previous weekend. With a packed fixture list Klopp will have to rotate his side wherever possible and there will likely be plenty of changes again for their first cup tie of the season.

Ahead of the game at Lincoln, Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders told the club website that they will be fielding a team: “With players who feel responsibility to show our hunger, the desire.”

“One of our main things over the last two years or longer is that we see each next game as the next final, this mentality is in our group. So the way we prepare Lincoln will be in the same way how we prepared, say, Chelsea over the weekend.”

He added that the starting team has not yet been decided, but hinted that it could be used as an opportunity to give fringe players and the new signings some game time.

“I don’t want to give the team selection at this moment because we still have one training [session] to go, we have to see how a few players are,” said Lijnders.

“What we try to do is for each player, what is good for him. It’s these weeks where we have to look at that as well. At this moment in time, it’s difficult to say exactly what we are going to do.”

New signings can make their mark

Liverpool fans will have been delighted with Thiago Alcantara’s first appearance in a Liverpool shirt on Sunday, but there are other new signings who are yet to make their debut for the club. Forward Diogo Jota did not sign in time to make the squad against Chelsea but he is available for tomorrow night. His versatility means that he could play anywhere across the front three but he will likely start from the left flank, where he was most often deployed at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Another recent addition yet to feature is Kostas Tsimikas, the Greek left-back bought to provide cover for Andy Robertson. The 24-year-old played 46 times for Olympiacos last season but missed the start of this campaign after testing positive for coronavirus. He is not expected to be pushing for a starting berth this season but he could find himself playing a lot of matches if the Reds make good progress in the cup competitions.

Defensive changes needed

Liverpool have just three specialist senior central defenders in their squad having sold Dejan Lovren during the summer, so with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip missing due to injury Fabinho was drafted into the defence against Chelsea. None of them, or Virgil van Dijk, will feature against Lincoln so there could be an opportunity for Billy Koumetio to make his senior debut for the club. The 6’3” 17-year-old impressed Klopp during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Austria with his physicality and is the only left-footed central defender at the club. He could partner 18-year-old Sepp van den Berg in the heart of the Liverpool defence at Sincil Bank. The young Dutchman is yet to make his league debut for the club but played in all three EFL Cup matches last season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on during the warm up prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on September 20, 2020 in London, England. (
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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on during the warm up prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on September 20, 2020 in London, England. (Michael ReganGetty Images

Youngsters likely to feature

Cup games will provide a chance for a number of Liverpool’s younger players to get some game time and Neco Williams and Curtis Jones should start, building on their impressive performances towards the end of last season. There have been many reports linking young striker Rhian Brewster with a move away from the club but he may be given a chance to prove himself against Lincoln. If nothing else, a promising performance could add to his transfer value.


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