Liverpool’s defensive issues this season have overshadowed the steady rise of 18-year-old centre-back Billy Koumetio, with the defender becoming the Reds’ youngest ever player to feature in the Champions League earlier in the season.
Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have meant that Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams have established themselves as first-team regulars so far this season but it seems as if the Merseyside club have another extremely talented youngster waiting in the wings, in the form of Koumetio.
The French defender joined Liverpool from Orleans U19 in January 2019 and has clearly impressed in his time with the Reds, as he has been training with the first-team since he was just 17 and made his debut for the senior side in the 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland in December 2020.
Klopp is certainly a fan of the Frenchman, having included him in his pre-season training camp back in August 2020, dubbing him a “big talent”.
He also signed his first professional contract with the club in 2020 and looks destined for an excellent future with the Reds, so perhaps it won’t be too long until we see him make his first appearance in the Premier League.
Certainly, Rhys Williams’ vulnerability was exposed in the 4-1 win against Aston Villa recently, when he was left in the dust by 17-year-old Louie Barry, so perhaps Klopp should consider promoting Koumetio instead.
Barry Lewtas, who is now manager of the U23 side at Liverpool, described the defender as a “real imposing figure at centre-back” so you can definitely make a comparison to Van Dijk and his style of play, with the Dutchman regularly dominating his opponents with his strength and aerial ability.
Whilst the former Southampton man recovers from his cruciate ligament injury, therefore, perhaps we should see Koumetio start to feature more for the Reds’ first-team, as he could prove to be Liverpool’s next Van Dijk.
And, in other news, Transfer update on “aggressive” 6 ft 2 LFC beast proves Klopp doesn’t trust him…