Liverpool will begin their Carabao Cup campaign on Thursday night when they travel to face League One outfit Lincoln City.
Jurgen Klopp and his Reds are likely to make wholesale changes to the starting XI that beat Chelsea 2-0 on Sunday.
Liverpool’s youngsters impressed during the competition last year and it is likely that the boss will look to replicate such success this term.
How will Liverpool line-up?
We are predicting that Klopp could look to utilise a 4-2-3-1 system considering the number of midfield options who featured at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
The boss could make up to 10 changes to the team that triumphed at Chelsea with Liverpool stocked with an array of cover in numerous positions.
We would expect the likes of Curtis Jones, Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott to come in given their performances in the competition last season while there could also be a few debutants making their first Liverpool appearances.
Considering the likes of Harry Wilson, Marko Grujic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Rhian Brewster are all being touted with moves away from Anfield this summer, it would be strange if any of the aforementioned names were to be involved in midweek.
Goalkeeper and defence
Adrian will surely come into the team as Klopp’s preferred goalkeeping option for the domestic cups.
With Williams the obvious choice at right-back, the manager will also likely keep Fabinho in the starting XI following the Brazilian’s imperious performance at the weekend against Chelsea.
Joe Gomez was rested as a precaution while Joel Matip has been ruled out for the next few weeks and is unlikely to return until after the international break.
This could open the door for a senior debut for 17-year-old centre back Billy Koumetio.
The Liverpool teenager was one of the success stories of the club’s recent pre-season tour of Austria and with the Reds’ options in central defence currently thin, Klopp will have no worries that Koumetio will be able to step up to the mark.
Kostas Tsimikas is also expected to make his Liverpool debut having recently recovered after testing positive for Covid-19. The Greek left-back was an unused substitute against Chelsea at the weekend.
Both Curtis Jones and James Milner started from the bench at the weekend so it is likely that Klopp will look to the English duo to offer Liverpool’s protection in midfield.
Jones, 19, isn’t predominately utilised in a midfield two but given the fact Georginio Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara all featured against Chelsea while Jordan Henderson was removed at half-time following a thigh injury, Klopp may not want to risk any of his senior midfield options in midweek.
Now, this is where things begin to get exciting.
Takumi Minamino’s involvement against Chelsea was limited to just five minutes so it is likely the Japan international will get the nod from the start against Lincoln on Thursday.
Harvey Elliott started in all of Liverpool’s League Cup fixtures last season and the outstanding 17-year-old talent is likely to benefit from a sustained run in the competition again this season.
The baldest selection choice we have gone for is undoubtedly the inclusion of new £45 million [BBC] summer signing Diogo Jota.
Jota, 23, was didn’t feature in either of Wolves’ opening fixtures against Sheffield United and Stoke meaning Klopp will want to get the Portugal international back up to match sharpness and fast. Liverpool’s midweek clash provides the perfect platform to hand Jota an early baptism of fire.
The final spot in the team will likely go to Divock Origi, who has yet to feature for Liverpool this season. Origi’s position in the team has come under question following the addition of Jota and the Belgian striker will hope to put in a strong performance against Lincoln to make a statement that he still has a significant role to play this season.
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