At this point in the season, Liverpool are comfortably in the race for the Premier League title with 25 points on the board from 12 games played as well as winning all of their Champions League and Carabao Cup matches.
One player that has played a big part in the Merseyside club’s latest campaign is defender Virgil van Dijk, who has 15 appearances under his belt with 12 coming in the Premier League and three in the Champions League.
The Dutchman’s previous performance in the Premier League for the Reds in their 4-0 victory over Arsenal saw him rack up a strong overall match rating of 7.2/10 from SofaScore.
In addition to this, Van Dijk has managed to make a total of 11 interceptions in the league with 40 clearances and nine blocks, showing how important he is at the back for the Reds.
Even though he signed a new four-year deal at the club over the summer, the fact that he is currently at the age of 30, Liverpool may need to think about securing a potential replacement for Van Dijk by the time his contract runs out.
With this in mind, the club could already have their ideal long-term heir for Van Dijk with 19-year-old centre-back Billy Koumetio.
Since joining Liverpool’s U18 side back in January 2019 from Orleans’ U19s on a free transfer, the teenager, who is currently valued at £450k according to Transfermarkt, has made 21 appearances for the U18s side and 24 for the U23s.
Labelled as “unbelievable” in the past by Pep Lijnders, Koumetio has also made one appearance for Jurgen Klopp’s senior side, which came in their 1-1 draw against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League back in December 2020.
With Lijnders also describing Koumetio’s development at the club as being “massive,” it’s not surprising that the Frenchman has played in all 12 of the Liverpool U23 side’s league games so far this season.
Looking ahead to the future, while Liverpool have a total of five centre-backs in their senior squad at the moment, it seems unlikely that Koumetio will get many minutes senior minutes this season.
However, if he can build on the development he’s already made since arriving at the club, he definitely has what it takes to force his way into the first team in the future and potentially save Klopp from having to spend millions of pounds in transfer fees for a potential Van Dijk replacement.