Despite Liverpool having a total of five centre-backs in their current senior squad, the fact that Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip have both hit the age of 30 shows that the Reds will need to be thinking about replacing the duo in the next few years.
One player who could well go on to become a regular in the senior Liverpool side at centre-back is 18-year-old Billy Koumetio.
Since joining Liverpool’s under-18 side back in January 2019 from Orleans’ U19s on a free transfer, the defender – who is currently valued at £450,000 by Transfermarkt – has made 21 appearances for the Reds’ under-18 side and 19 for the club’s under-23s.
So far this season, the teenager – who has been described as being a “big talent” by Klopp – has played 90 minutes in all but two Liverpool under-23 games across all competitions, showing just how much of a pivotal figure he is for the underage team.
As James Pearce discussed in an article for The Athletic prior to the 2020/21 campaign, Koumetio “really impressed Klopp” in pre-season and had senior Liverpool players “raving about how good he is”, which is no mean feat considering that the Reds’ first team had ran away with the Premier League with a mammoth 99-point tally just a few weeks earlier.
Looking ahead to the future, we feel that if he can continue playing for the U23s and potentially even have a loan spell out somewhere where he can play regular senior football, he could then go on to become an important figure for Liverpool.
Also, with Matip’s current contract set to expire in 2024, we feel that Koumetio could definitely be in and around the senior squad alongside the likes of Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate by then if he develops his career even further by the time the Cameroonian ends up leaving the club.
Additionally, with the 18-year-old managing to rack up 2.5 clearances per game throughout his appearances in the Football League Trophy this season, mirroring Matip’s 2.5 clearances per game in the Premier League, it shows just how similar the pair are in this regard.
Koumetio still has a way to go in his career until he gets to be a regular figure for the Reds’ first team, but if he keeps working hard, focuses on his game and lives up to the high billing of the more established players at Anfield, there’s every opportunity that he could go on to have a massive future at the Merseyside club.