Billy Koumetio signed a long-term professional deal with the club last week – and his reward is to be a part of the Austria training group with the first-team.
The 17-year-old centre-back is a colossus already – and has the physical traits required to be an elite defender.
Jurgen Klopp has praised the youngster and says the plan for Koumetio this season is to play in the U23s, primarily.
“Billy the kid. He doesn’t look like a kid!” Klopp told the official website. “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.
“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.”
Hopefully Koumetio can form a partnership with Sepp van den Berg in the U23s this term – as the Dutchman looks to continue his development in the expectation that one day he’ll be ready for first-team minutes.
Both Sepp and Koumetio are very tall and technically capable – so it looks like Liverpool are trying to build the next Virgil van Dijk behind the scenes!
The fact both youngsters will be learning off the best centre-back on the planet, and maybe even Premier League history, will be hugely beneficial.