Billy Koumetio needed just one pass to show why Jurgen Klopp is excited
Just a couple of weeks on from signing his first professional contract at Liverpool, Billy Koumetio has already caught the eye of Jurgen Klopp while training with Reds’ first team.
Koumetio, a 17-year-old French defender, has been on Liverpool’s books since 2018 and penned his first pro deal earlier this month.
He has since travelled with the first team for Liverpool’s pre-season trip to Austria after a frustrating end to the 2019-20 campaign due to injury.
He has clearly made an impression on Klopp, who told the club’s official website: “Billy the kid. He doesn’t look like a kid! In my opinion, his face looks like a kid but then all the rest is like, wow!
“I told him, ‘Last time I saw you, you were like 20 centimetres less if I’m right.’ That’s pretty special. Yes, he’s a big talent.
“Billy was unfortunately injured for quite a while, so he’s now coming back. The perfect situation would be that he maybe really first be with the U23s and stuff like this. But a training camp is a nice opportunity for him, it’s good for us to see him.”
Koumetio played the second half of Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Stuttgart as Klopp changed the entire XI at half-time, and the former Lyon prospect slotted in seamlessly against the newly-promoted Bundesliga outfit.
A dominating presence in the air, Koumetio read the game well, making blocks, tackles and interceptions whenever called upon, but it was his ability with the ball at his feet that caught the eye.
Koumetio had already made a couple of impressive cross-field passes – with both his left and right foot – by the time he collected the ball on the edge of Liverpool’s box.
By this point he was clearly growing in confidence and strode forward before playing a beautifully-weighted through ball which dissected three Stuttgart players to set Kostas Tsimikas free on the left flank.
Klopp seems to have taken a shining to Koumetio, commenting last week in the same interview with the official site: “I took him this morning [Sunday] in a session because we have to make sure we don’t over-do [it] with him, it’s very important. So he was not part of the last part of the session physically but I took him aside and explained what we do there.
“I think things like this help him a lot and I’m pretty sure he will make big steps.”
It is still early days in pre-season but Koumetio already appears to have taken big steps – both literally and figuratively. Now it’s time to wait and see just how far he can go.