Liverpool forgotten man seals January transfer exit in final chance to impress Reds | Football | Sport

Liverpool youngster Billy Koumetio has been given a final chance to impress after falling out of favour at Anfield. The centre-back, who was once the youngest player to play for the Reds in the Champions League, has joined Blackburn on loan for the remainder of the season.

Koumetio, 21, debuted in Europe aged 18 years and 25 days when he featured against FC Midtjylland in December 2020. His record has since been beaten by Stefan Bajcetic.

Just one more appearance under Jurgen Klopp has followed, in a 2021 Carabao Cup tie against Leicester in which he was hauled off at half-time.

Unsuccessful loan spells have stalled Koumetio’s progress and he is into the final 18 months of his contract. He has spent time at Austria Wien and USL Dunkerque, with his stint at the former seeing him play only 325 minutes in the Australian Bundesliga.

Klopp once expressed high hopes for Koumetio. Speaking about the Frenchman and fellow academy graduate Leighton Clarkson, who now plays for Aberdeen, after they made their senior debuts, Klopp said: “They are already really skilled but they have a lot to learn and we will give them the time to do so.

“I am really thankful that they are already as good as they are. That’s the reason why we can use them, but I know there is a lot more to come.”

A raft of defensive injuries at Anfield over the last 12 months might have seen Koumetio make further appearances. However, a failure to kick on since his debut has seen other academy stars leap ahead in Klopp’s plans.

There are extremely high hopes for the 20-year-old Jarell Quansah, who has played in 18 matches across all competitions this season. Expectations that Koumetio might also emerge as a first-team regular have long dwindled.

A move to Blackburn offers the perfect opportunity to earn frequent minutes in the Championship. It will be the best standard of football at which Koumetio has played regularly, providing a possible route into the Premier League next term.

The player, who Liverpool signed from French side Orleans in 2018, will certainly hope that he can be playing in the English top-flight in 2024-25. Having been a ballboy for Liverpool’s epic 4-0 Champions League win over Barcelona in 2019, playing in front of big crowds at Anfield would surely be his preference.

Koumetio needs a positive second half of the season. Some excellent performances for Blackburn could put him in contention under Liverpool’s next manager. But a failure to impress could spell the end of his career on Merseyside given his contract situation.

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