Billy Koumetio was tipped to have a big future by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may be fighting to save his career at the top level after a disastrous loan spell at Austria Wien.
A Liverpool player tipped by Jurgen Klopp to be a “big talent” just over two years ago finds himself at a career crossroads.
Billy Koumetio was hailed by Klopp when he was handed his first professional contract by the Reds in the summer of 2020. After spending two years around the senior squad at Anfield, the defender was sent to Austria Wien on loan in the summer.
While it was meant to be a season-long loan deal, it appears increasingly likely he will return to Merseyside this month instead. The Frenchman has made just five Austrian Bundesliga appearances all season, making the matchday squad just seven times in total.
In fact, his last outing in the league came back at the start of September, and even that was only a 45-minute display against SC Austria Lustenau. According to Kicker, his return to Liverpool is ‘as good as certain’.
It is said his downfall at Wien came in the Autumn when he failed to impress during his limited run in the team. Sporting director Manuel Ortlechner revealed earlier this week that Koumetio’s return to Liverpool was at the Reds’ request.
“We are in close exchange and I have a phone call with Liverpool later because they would like to bring Koumetio back. We still think that this is an incredibly exciting player,” he said earlier this week.
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“He can have a really exciting career, but Liverpool want to bring him back now, they have the right. We still have to clarify everything, but Billy Koumetio will 99% not play for Austria Wien again.”
His failed loan to Die Veilchen comes after Klopp raved about the 20-year-old just a few years ago. Klopp even made him Liverpool’s youngest-ever Champions League player, but it appears Koumetio faces a tough road back to try and establish himself at the top level.
“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,” Klopp said at the time.
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. 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. We just have to make sure that we really deal with his age group and physical demands well.”