Lincoln City vs Liverpool preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Pepijn Lijnders  was asked to attend Liverpool's pre-match press conference in place of manager Jurgen Klopp | Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp’s world champions were eliminated from the Carabao Cup at the quarter-final stage last season, falling to defeat against Aston Villa amid a fixture pile-up in December. Liverpool were forced to select a youthful side in their 5-0 defeat at Villa Park due to their participation in the Club World Cup.

Lincoln City – then under the management of Danny Cowley – were eliminated in the second-round last term, succumbing to a 4-2 loss against Everton on home soil. Michael Appleton’s side have navigated past Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City to set-up their glamour tie against the Premier League champions.

Team News

The hosts are expected to name a similar starting eleven to the side that beat MK Dons on Saturday. Liam Bridcutt featured against the Dons after recovering from a hamstring injury, and is likely to captain his side against Liverpool.

With Tom Hopper and Callum Morton both scoring on their most recent starts, Appleton must decide which forward will lead the line for Lincoln. Anthony Scully – who scored in the Imps’ win over Bradford in the previous round – will be hoping to return to the line-up.

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Klopp is likely to make wholesale changes to the Liverpool side that beat Chelsea at the weekend, with the German tactician expected to name a fully-rotated starting line-up.

Thiago Alcantara could make his first start for the Reds, as Klopp seeks to build the Spaniard up to match fitness. Diogo Jota could also be handed his full Liverpool debut after arriving from Wolverhampton Wanderers last week.

Jordan Henderson is an injury doubt for Thursday’s contest, with Klopp expected to exclude his captain from consideration ahead of Liverpool’s match against Arsenal on Monday evening. Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain on Klopp’s injury list, while the U21’s fixture on Tuesday evening could limit the number of youngsters included in his matchday squad.

As a result, a number of fringe players are expected to be restored to the line-up, with the likes of James Milner, Divock Origi and Curtis Jones expected to feature against the Imps. Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas could also be handed his first appearance in English football.

Predicted Lineups

Liverpool (4-3-3): Adrian; Williams, Phillips, Van den Berg, Tsimikas; Milner, Thiago, Jones; Minamino, Origi, Jota.

Lincoln City (4-3-3): Palmer; Eyoma, Montsma, Jackson, Melbourne; Bridcutt, McGrandles, Jones; Anderson, Hopper, Grant.

Ones to Watch

Japanese international Takumi Minamino will be expected to lead Liverpool’s patchwork front three against their League One opponents. Minamino, who arrived in Merseyside from RB Salzburg in January, is yet to stamp his mark on his new side, but has previously shown his quality for club and country.

Minamino made his international debut for Japan aged 20 and will be hoping to solidify his place in Klopp’s plans with a positive performance on Thursday evening. The 5”9’ attacking midfielder is most comfortable when receiving possession in the half spaces, and is known to drift inside when deployed on the right flank.

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Former Scotland international Bridcutt was the Imps’ standout signing of the summer, joining the club on a permanent basis after spending last season on loan at the LNER Stadium. Bridcutt, who captains the side in addition to holding a coaching role at the club, will play a vital role in Lincoln’s battle to win possession in midfield against the Premier League champions.

Previous Meetings

Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash will mark the sides’ 24th competitive meeting, and their first since 1961. Liverpool hold a winning record over the Imps, securing 13 victories over the Lincolnshire outfit. The sides have drawn on five occasions, with the League One side claiming five wins over their Merseyside opponents.

Johnny Morrisey and Kevin Lewis scored in Liverpool’s most recent victory against Lincoln, a 2-0 win at Anfield on 25 February 1961. The Imps last beat Liverpool in 1960, on an afternoon when Bert Linnecor scored a hattrick for Lincoln at Anfield in the second division.

The sides first met on 9 September 1893, with Liverpool winning the match 4-0 at Anfield. The Imps were forced to wait a further 63 years to secure their first win over the Reds, winning 4-2 on Merseyside on 19 March 1955.

Where to watch on TV

Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Football, with the contest kicking-off at 19:45 BST at the LNER Stadiun.

Manager Comments

Following his side’s 2-1 victory over MK Dons on Saturday, Lincoln manager Appleton stressed that the Imps would be well-prepared for the visit of the Premier League champions. "We will regroup and make sure the lads have the balance right between now and Liverpool,” Appleton said. “It is a great game for the football club, especially with the game being on Sky. 

"We have a reasonable idea about how they play and how they setup, they are really good at it so we will work hard throughout the game. We will need to be clinical when and if we get opportunities."

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Klopp – who has previously criticised fixture congestion caused by the Carabao Cup – sent assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders to Liverpool’s pre-match press conference. After a brief managerial stint in the Netherlands with NEC Nijmegen, Lijnders returned to Anfield in 2018, having previously been appointment first-team development coach three years earlier.

Lijnders, asked how the Premier League champions intended to line-up against the Imps, told reporters that players with "hunger and desire" would start for the Reds on Thursday evening.

“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.

“We are fully prepared. We know they had a great run so far, top of the league. A counter-attacking side with speed on the wings, with technical players on the inside. Good set-pieces, I think they scored five goals already with that. When they play football, they properly play football, with good switches between players and good flexibility.

"We want to win this competition, that's for sure."

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