Lincoln boss savouring chance to go toe-to-toe with “best manager in the world” Jurgen Klopp

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Lincoln manager Michael Appleton is savouring the opportunity to come up against “the best manager in the world” in Jurgen Klopp in the next round of the League Cup.

Lincoln booked their place in the third round of the competition by dismantling Bradford to the tune of 5-0 on Tuesday night, setting up a meeting with the Premier League champions next week.

It will be the first time Appleton has managed a team against Liverpool and, of course, stood in the opposing dugout to Klopp.

The Imps will play hosts for the tie at Sincil Bank and if selected for TV will receive a much-needed financial boost, as the League One side continue to be hit by matches played behind-closed-doors.

And while the Reds are set to field a much-changed side from the one to feature against Chelsea on Sunday, claims of facing a ‘weakened’ lineup have been dismissed by the Lincoln manager after witnessing Liverpool’s fringe and youth players in cup action last season.

“The reality is they’re Premier League champions. If you look at the teams they put out in the FA Cup last season – and got a bit of stick for – they were still decent sides,” Appleton said, via Lincolnshire Live.

SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 26, 2020: Liverpool players before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Shrewsbury Town FC and Liverpool FC at the New Meadow. Dejan Lovren, goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo, Joel Matip, Neco Williams, Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho', Pedro Chirivella, Yasser Larouci, Takumi Minamino, Curtis Jones, Divock Origi, Harvey Elliott. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s going to be a great occasion for everybody at the club. They’re full of talent. Even their second team is a side you wouldn’t mind looking after every week. We’ll give it our best shot.”

It is a far cry from the reaction served up by Shrewsbury in the FA Cup, who labelled Klopp and the club “disrespectful” for holding back their first-team players during the replay earlier this year.

This time around Liverpool will field the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Takumi Minamino, Adrian, Joel Matip and Rhian Brewster, with the tie sandwiched between league clashes against Chelsea and Arsenal.

It will be the second successive season the Reds have faced League One opposition in the third round following on from their 2-0 win over MK Dons last season, and there’s no doubt they will be put through their paces against a side out to topple the best team in the country.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 12, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and Sadio Mané during the pre-match warm-up before the opening FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Appleton, a boyhood Man United fan once on their books, has respect in abundance for his opposing manager and is relishing the chance to test his side against the very best.

“I’m saying this as Manchester United fan, the work he’s done at that football club is outstanding,” the Lincoln boss added.

“People talk about Pep and Klopp and Mourinho. In my eyes, we’ll be coming up against the best manager in the world.

“It’s going to be a test, but one I’m looking forward to. It’s an opportunity for the players to test themselves against the best in the country.”

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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