Liverpool stormed into round four of the Carabao Cup courtesy of a thumping 7-2 victory at Lincoln City.
Jurgen Klopp made 10 changes to the side that defeated Chelsea at the weekend, but it made little difference as a combination of fringe stars and talented youngsters put the League One outfit to the sword.
Xherdan Shaqiri got the ball rolling with a sublime 11th minute free kick before Takumi Minamino curled another super strike into the far corner.
Curtis Jones then took centre stage heading into the interval with a classy double as the Merseysiders put on a finishing masterclass.
There was no let up after the break as Minamino volleyed in his second of the night prior to new signing Diogo Jota coming off the bench to make his Reds bow.
Tayo Edun did provide some respite for Michael Appleton’s men before Marko Grujic added a sixth with his maiden goal for the visitors.
Lewis Montsma headed in off the bar to pull another back for the Imps, but Divock Origi ensured the champions had the final word of a high scoring affair in the last minute.
Liverpool will now host Arsenal in an Anfield double-header next week, with Monday’s Premier League clash followed hot on the heels by a League Cup fourth round tie.
Lincoln v Liverpool scoreboard
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Plenty to smile about for Klopp as Lincoln are handed a drubbing. The Imps had been unbeaten in five outings ahead of this contest, but never looked like challenging a hungry Reds second string. Michael Appleton’s players obviously won’t face such high quality opposition in League One and he will hope his side’s confidence isn’t too dented as they immediately look to bounce back at home to Charlton on Sunday.
For Klopp, there were so many positives. He has often been criticised for playing weakened teams in the domestic cup competitions, but the calibre of the one he put out here speaks volumes about the club’s youth development and overall recruitment in recent years.
England Under-19 centre-back Rhys Williams and summer signing Kostas Tsimikas made impressive debuts while Jota also got his first minutes in a red shirt with a second half cameo. Minamino was a constant menace as he continues to show he has found his feet at the club after building on his fine pre-season. Indeed, it was hard to point a finger at a Liverpool player who didn’t take their opportunity to impress, which is good news for Klopp given the Reds’ schedule over the coming weeks and months.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Curtis Jones (Liverpool). Another classy showing from the Liverpool midfielder. Starting berths must seem even harder to come by given the Reds’ wealth of talent in that department and the arrival of Thiago, but if he keeps producing displays like this when called upon, his manager will have to take more and more notice. Netted his goals well and was composed on the ball throughout.
Virgil van Dijk | Lincoln v Liverpool
Image credit: Getty Images
Lincoln: Palmer 5, Bradley 5, Montsma 6, Eyoma 5, Melbourne 6, Bridcutt 6, Edun 6, Jones 6, Grant 6, Anderson 6, Scully 6. Subs: McGrandles 6, Hopper 6, Archibald 6.
Liverpool: Adrian 6, N Williams 7, R Williams 7, Van Dijk 7, Tsimikas 8, Grujic 7, Jones 8, Elliott 6, Shaqiri 7, Minamino 8, Origi 6. Subs: Fabinho 6, Jota 6, Keita 6.
9' – Lincoln 0-1 Liverpool (Shaqiri). Shaqiri sizzles a stunning free kick into the top corner from just outside the right edge of the Lincoln penalty area.
18' – Lincoln 0-2 Liverpool(Minamino). Minamino curves an exquisite shot into the far corner after Montsma's poor ball out of defence was immediately pounced upon by Shaqiri.
32' – Lincoln 0-3 Liverpool (Jones). Curtis Jones curls a smart shot into the far corner from Origi's clever header down.
36' – Lincoln 0-4 Liverpool(Jones). Another delightful finish. Jones spins his man, turns another and curls a deflected shot into the far corner.
46' – Lincoln 0-5 Liverpool (Minamino). Minamino follows up to tap home on the volley after Palmer had blocked Elliott's shot.
60' – Lincoln 1-5 Liverpool (Edun). The home side have pulled one back! Edun slots a neat finish into the far corner after a tidy move down the left opened Liverpool up.
65' – Lincoln 1-6 Liverpool (Grujic). Grujic fires a low shot into the far corner that Palmer can't quite get down to keep out.
66' – Lincoln 2-6 Liverpool(Montsma). Montsma powers a left-wing corner in off the bar after Adrian was caught in no man's land.
89' – Lincoln 2-7 Liverpool (Origi). Minamino feeds Origi as Liverpool break at pace. The forward wastes little time in firing a low shot under Palmer.
- Since moving to Stoke in August 2015, over half of Xherdan Shaqiri's 23 goals in English football have come from outside the box (12), with this his first goal directly from a free-kick since May 2018 (Stoke v Crystal Palace).
- 12 & 12 - 24 goals have been scored between Liverpool (12) and their opponents (12) across their last three League Cup matches.
- Liverpool are the first English top-flight side to score at least four times from outside the box in the same match since Manchester United beat Roma 7-1 back in April 2007 in the Champions League.