Curtis Jones and Takumi Minamino struck braces as a much-changed Liverpool cruised past Lincoln City 7-2 in an entertaining EFL Cup third-round clash on Thursday.
Jurgen Klopp made 10 changes from the side that beat Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday, with only Virgil van Dijk keeping his place, but they still had more than enough firepower to swat aside their League One opponents.
Xherdan Shaqiri got the visitors on their way inside the opening 10 minutes, whipping a superb free-kick into the top-right corner, before a fine strike from Minamino and a double from Jones made it 4-0 at the break.
Minamino added a fifth immediately after the restart before Tayo Edun pulled one back for the Imps on the hour mark.
Marko Grujic and Lewis Montsma then exchanged quick-fire goals, while Divock Origi added a seventh late on as Liverpool – who handed Diogo Jota a debut from the substitutes’ bench in the second half – set up a fourth-round clash with Arsenal at Anfield next week.
Liverpool, who included debutants Rhys Williams and Konstantinos Tsimikas in their starting XI, wasted little time asserting their authority as Shaqiri registered his first goal since December 4 with a sublime free-kick from 22 yards in the ninth minute.
The Reds doubled their advantage after 18 minutes when a sloppy pass out from the back by Montsma found its way to Minamino, who sent a strike into Alex Palmer’s top-left corner from 20 yards.
Jones added a third shortly after the half-hour mark, curling home from inside the penalty area after being picked out by Origi’s downwards header.
The 19-year-old claimed his second just four minutes later when his effort from outside the area clipped off Timothy Eyoma and flew past Palmer.
Any thoughts that Klopp’s men would take it easy in the second period were extinguished after just 18 seconds when Minamino volleyed into an empty net after Harvey Elliott had been denied by Palmer.
The Imps started to pour forward in search of a consolation and it duly arrived on the hour mark when Edun coolly slotted past Adrian from inside the area.
Grujic plundered his first Liverpool goal from 20 yards in the 65th minute before Montsma took advantage of Adrian’s woeful goalkeeping to head home Lincoln’s second just a minute later.
Origi then wrapped up the scoring a minute from time when his strike from 15 yards slipped through the grasp of Palmer.
Lincoln (4-3-3): Palmer; Bradley; Eyoma; Montsma; Melbourne; Jones (Hopper 60); Bridcutt (McGrandles 60); Edun; Anderson; Scully; Grant
Subs not used: Jackson; Howarth; Ross; Roughan
Scorers: Edun (60); Montsma (66)
Liverpool (4-1-2-1-2): Adrian; Williams; Van Dijk (Fabinho 45); R Williams; Tsimikas; Grujic; Jones; Shaqiri (Keita 75); Minamino; Elliott (Jota 57); Origi
Subs not used: Wilson; Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold; Van den Berg
Scorers: Shaqiri (9); Minamino (18, 46); Jones (32, 36); Grujic (65); Origi (89).