It was a case of death by a thousand cuts for Lincoln as Liverpool comfortably dispatched the League One side in the League Cup, with a number of Reds shining in a 7-2 win.
Lincoln 2-7 Liverpool
League Cup Third Round, LNER Stadium
September 24, 2020
Goals: Edun 60′, Montsma 67′; Shaqiri 9′, Minamino 18′, 46′, Jones 32′, 36′, Grujic 65′, Origi 89′
Adrian – 7 (out of 10)
Had little to do in the first half and when asked to intervene, did so without a hitch.
It was in the second where he came to the fore, however, with a series of successive saves early in the piece to deny Lincoln from close range.
Could do little to stop Lincoln pulling a goal back, but was caught well out of position from the corner for their second.
Neco Williams – 6
Looked to keep the width on the right in attack, but moments of indecision and a lack of composure saw him dispossessed – which led to Lincoln registering on the scoresheet.
On the whole, the occasion provided valuable game time and continued to highlight areas in need of development, which is what you would expect for an up and coming 19-year-old.
Rhys Williams – 7
It was a memorable night for the 19-year-old, making his Liverpool debut positioned alongside the world’s leading centre-back for the first half.
Considered one of the academy’s most promising talents, Williams showed his confidence in possession as displayed by his diagonal switch into the attacking penalty area to help set up the third goal.
Did well to cajole his opponent and was helpless as he lost his footing for their goal. Will have benefited greatly from the experience.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
The Dutchman was the sole player retained from the side who overcame Chelsea, providing an experienced head in a defensive line made up of two teenagers and a senior debutant.
His presence alone was enough to force Lincoln into a misstep and assist Williams in his debut, in what was a solid half whereby he was asked to do very little defensively.
Rightly swapped out at half-time to end his first outing in the competition for Liverpool.
Kostas Tsimikas – 7
The first competitive game for the Reds was one headlined by his willingness to deliver the ball into the box without delay, an attacker’s dream.
Much of his work was away from the defensive third, such was Liverpool’s dominance in possession. Overall, a solid debut from the left-back.
Marko Grujic – 7
Over 1000 days and loans at two different clubs separated Grujic’s last two competitive appearances for the club, and here, he occupied the holding role in an otherwise attack-focused lineup.
Consistently looked to be positive and switch play and was rewarded for his endeavour with his maiden Liverpool goal with a strike from outside the area.
Curtis Jones – 9 (Man of the Match)
There really is no shortage of confidence when it comes to Jones.
Bundled over to set up the opportunity for Liverpool’s opener, the 19-year-old added two more goals to his career tally (now five) – both of which were struck with authority.
But it was his second which exemplified his game having evaded the defender with work in tight in order to create space for his right-footed effort and while deflected, it was all his making.
He also added some nice defensive work to his game as he continued to tick all the right boxes.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 8
It had been a while between drinks for the No. 23, with his last start coming in the Club World Cup semi-final last December – with a series of injuries holding him back.
But he started this one with a bang, rifling a pinpoint free-kick into the top corner of the net to provide the ideal foundations for his team.
Playing as part of the midfield three, Shaqiri was energetic, sharp and posed a constant threat from deep and during dead ball situations. He more than seized his opportunity.
Harvey Elliott – 7
Quieter than his counterparts, but as a member of the mosquito squad he was bright and consistently on his toes looking to force Lincoln into a mistake in the final third.
His quick readjustment enabled him to capitalise on Lincoln’s poor back play and helped to set the move in motion for Minamino’s first goal.
Takumi Minamino – 9
Operating centrally, Minamino continued to make positive steps and showcase his ever-growing confidence.
His first-time finish into the top corner from outside the area demonstrated as much and his willingness to drop into midfield added to the pressure placed on the hosts.
And it came up trumps in the second as he finished up some brilliant pressing work to add his second and Liverpool’s fifth of the night, before splitting Lincoln down the middle to set the seventh goal in motion.
Divock Origi – 5
It was a largely anonymous display from the Belgian, with his intent both on and off the ball lacking, to say the very least.
He did find himself with an assist to his name for Jones’ first and a goal to cap off the thrashing, but with those around him making runs and offering an option, Origi looked out of place and did little to suggest he should be afforded a consistent place in the matchday squad – should he stay.
Fabinho (on for Van Dijk, 46′) – 6 –
Another game at the heart of defence came the way of the Brazilian, and it took a little time to adjust to what was a fast start to the second half.
Diogo Jota (on for Elliott, 57′) – 6 –
A solid yet unspectacular debut appearance. Showcased nice clean work on the ball and a willingness to take aim at goal. Plenty to look forward to as he settles in.
Naby Keita (on for Shaqiri, 75′) – N/A –
Had little time to make a significant impact.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Van den Berg, Alexander-Arnold, Wilson
Jurgen Klopp – 9
Opted for a much-changed side which primarily handed chances to those on the fringes or currently in the shop window, and it was an emphatic display.
The light was shone on those seeking further opportunities and valuable game time injected into their lefs as the season starts to pick up pace.
It was a match which exemplified the growth Liverpool have undertaken under Klopp, where despite 10 changes the Reds were able to field a strong XI who cruised to victory.
The result ensures Liverpool are now three from three in 2020/21 and will have the chance to progress to the fifth round of the competition should they topple Arsenal next week.