Amid all the talk of new signings at Liverpool, it has been an academy performance that has had fans excited ahead of the club’s upcoming Premier League title defence.
Once Jurgen Klopp announced the squad to take part during Liverpool’s Community Shield bout with Arsenal on Saturday, there was surprise inclusion that could have big ramifications for the season.
The German manager’s decision to include teenager Billy Koumetio was telling when you consider Klopp chose not to include the likes of Nat Phillips, Sepp van den Berg or Ki-Jana Hoever.
This is despite all of the previously aforementioned defensive trident having already made their Liverpool debuts while teenager Koumetio is still waiting for his first senior appearance for the Reds.
Koumetio, 17, looks currently next in line at centre back behind senior stars Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
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While Koumetio didn’t manage to get the call-up onto the pitch against Arsenal at the weekend, his calling was telling nonetheless.
Debut very likely this season
Liverpool signed Koumetio from Orleans in 2018, he had previously been with the Olympique Lyonnais academy.
It has been an unforgettable few weeks for the French-born defender who signed his first professional contract last month before officially making himself a Liverpool first-team player.
A few days after putting pen-to-paper on a new deal at Anfield, Koumetio was quickly whisked away with Liverpool’s senior stars to the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria.
Following Dejan Lovren’s departure to Zenit St Petersburg and Joel Matip still nursing an injury, opportunity knocked at the door for Koumetio to make an impact and the teenager didn’t waste his opportunity.
During Liverpool’s 3-0 victory during a friendly against Stuttgart, Koumetio replaced Van den Berg in the second half to partner Phillips and the youngster’s accomplished performance had supporters raving.
James Pearce of The Athletic, recently mentioned that Koumetio’s involvement in the Community Shield bout was based on the performances from pre-season which typifies how quickly Koumetio has caught the eye of his manager.
“Koumetio has certainly enhanced his reputation,” Pearce wrote in his post-Community Shield Q&A.
Koumetio is still expected to feature predominately under Barry Lewtas with the under-23s next season as opposed to Klopp although a senior debut should be expected imminently.
The likes of Phillips, Van den Berg and Hoever are all currently being considered for loan moves away from the club and Koumetio’s recent inspiring form could convince Klopp that the club have a viable options in the cup competitions from the academy.
Koumetio’s physical stature has been compared to that of Van Dijk and when analysing his performances from pre-season it is easy to see why there is so much hype surrounding the imposing defender and his first-team credentials next season.
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