Liverpool U18 coach Marc Bridge-Wilkinson says Billy Koumetio is ‘outstanding’ and, although there is a lot of competition for places at centre-back in the first team, he could be the next to break through at Anfield.
I thought Billy was outstanding,” Bridge-Wilkinson told the Liverpool Echo about Koumetio after the game. “He was fantastic.
“He was shown a yellow card midway through the first half and that was always going to be tricky, but I thought he dealt with it and played a really mature game.
“Billy is huge, but he’s only 18. If you put him next to someone else who is 18, people probably think he should be different.
“But he’s 18 years old. He’s doing really well. We know the potential he has got and he really showcased that against Atletico.”
Compared to last season when Jurgen Klopp was battling to find centre-backs to start every week, the German has a wealth of options with Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Phillips all vying for just two spots in the side.
Gomez, in particular, has struggled to find game time and this just reflects the strength in depth at Klopp’s disposal.
It will be a while before Koumetio comes into contention for the Liverpool squad. But he is acquitting himself in the club’s academy and, as Bridge-Wilkinson pointed out, his mental strength after getting booked early on is a great sign.
It reminded me of Fabinho playing on a yellow card in the Champions League against Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.
Billy Koumetio kept his composure for the rest of the game and the young Reds ran out 2-0 victors in the UEFA Youth League against Atletico Madrid, foreshadowing the senior side’s win over Atleti on Wednesday evening.