Lincoln City vs Liverpool: Predicted starting line-up
 (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool begin their Carabao Cup campaign away to League One Lincoln City on Thursday night.

Victory at Sincil Bank would put set-up a Round of 16 clash with Arsenal or Leicester City.

Jurgen Klopp tends to take his key players out of the firing line for cup ties, prioritising the Premier League.

But Reds fans could nonetheless be treated to their first competitive glimpses of two summer signings.

Read on for our predicted XI.

Goalkeeper – Adrian

Caomhin Kelleher started all three of Liverpool’s League Cup games last season, but at that stage Adrian was the Reds’ first-choice with Alisson Becker sidelined.

Given that Kelleher turned out for the Under-21s against Wigan in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday, Adrian is a dead-cert for this one. It will be his first appearance since his costly error against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Right-back – Neco Williams

Ki-Jana Hoever’s move to Wolves is perhaps a boost for Williams, thinning out his competition in the right-back deputy ranks.

Williams started the Community Shield in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, a reflection of Klopp’s faith. He has since made a successful start to his senior international career with Wales. This will be his 13th first-team outing.

Centre-back – Sepp van den Berg

Van den Berg did not feature for the Under-21s on Tuesday, which points towards involvement against Lincoln. He was an ever-present for the Reds in last season’s competition.

Nathaniel Phillips is a more experienced candidate, but he may be protected from injury ahead of a likely departure in the final fortnight of the transfer window.

Centre-back – Billy Koumetio

Koumetio will complete the teenage partnership if he is passed fit. He is expected to train on Wednesday after picking up a knock.

The Frenchman played in all three of the Reds’ pre-season matches and has made a real impression on Jurgen Klopp and his staff. He will hope to showcase his potential on his competitive debut.

Left-back – Kostas Tsimikas

Tsimikas was absent from the matchday squad for Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Leeds due to illness, but returned to the fray last weekend against Chelsea.

Signed to challenge Andrew Robertson, he will almost certainly get the chance to impress on Thursday night.

Defensive midfield – Marko Grujic

It appears that Grujic, who returned in the summer from a second loan spell at Hertha Berlin, does not figure in Jurgen Klopp’s long-term plans.

Fitness and fatigue concerns, though, might lead to his inclusion against Lincoln – an opportunity to position the Serbian in the shop window, perhaps.

It is possible that Thiago Alcantara, who played 45 minutes at Stamford Bridge, could anchor the midfield in a full debut. But the Spaniard may in fact be saved for Monday night’s visit of Arsenal.

Central midfield – James Milner

Milner will almost certainly be sporting the armband with Jordan Henderson injured and Virgil van Dijk to be rested.

The 34-year-old will be keen for far more than a bit-part role this season, but his presence has proven valuable in otherwise youthful sides. He could be the box-to-box presence in this midfield.

Central midfield – Curtis Jones

The attacking licence will predominantly be handed to Jones, set to occupy the role played by the now-departed Adam Lallana last season.

That entails plenty of cup action and the occasional Premier League start.

Liverpool fans always enjoy their glimpses of Jones, a confident and silky midfielder.

Right-wing – Harvey Elliott

Elliott, another exceptionally promising youngster, should get the nod over Xherdan Shaqiri, who has struggled for fitness.

He was selected for all of Liverpool’s cup ties in 2019/20 and will see his development cautiously managed.

A first senior goal will be on his mind against the Imps.

Centre-forward – Takumi Minamino

After impressing in pre-season, Minamino has established himself as Roberto Firmino’s closest challenger.

The Japanese international has only recently found his goalscoring touch, but edges Rhian Brewster on the basis of his superior link-up play.

Indeed, it will be intriguing to see whether Brewster is involved at all amid persistent talk of a move away.

Left-wing - Diogo Jota

Jota arrived too late to be eligible for the trip to Chelsea but he is in contention for a debut here.

The £40million signing has not played a competitive minute since Wolves’ Europa League quarterfinal defeat against Sevilla last month, but he was named among the substitutes for their first league game at Sheffield United.

There shouldn’t be any major fitness concerns standing in the way of a first start, then, but Klopp could ease him more gradually, with a big-name opponent lying in the wait in the next round if Liverpool progress.

It is between the Portuguese and Divock Origi for the final spot.