KIDDERMINSTER, ENGLAND - Friday, January 27, 2023: Liverpool's Billy Koumetio before the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC Under-21's and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Aggborough Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Liverpool confirm new Billy Koumetio loan after failed move to Austria

With a move to the Austrian Bundesliga last term aborted midway through, Liverpool defender Billy Koumetio has now headed back to France on loan.

There were high hopes for Koumetio upon his switch to Austria Wien last June, but a series of issues restricted him to just 11 appearances.

His deal was then cut short in January, rejoining the Liverpool under-21s for the remainder of the campaign, seeing him score a spectacular goal against PSG.

No longer in the first-team picture, the decision has been made to loan Koumetio out again, this time to Ligue 2 side USL Dunkerque.

Dunkerque, based in the historic harbour commune of Dunkirk, earned promotion to the French second tier last season after finishing second in the Championnat National.

So far they have won one, drawn one and lost two in Ligue 2, with manager Mathieu Chabert fielding three centre-backs.

There is a strong chance of Koumetio taking up a regular role, then, with Hugo Gambor and Opa Sangante the only other natural centre-backs in the squad.

November will bring the defender’s 21st birthday, with this season likely a decisive one when it comes to his future in England.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 11, 2023: Liverpool's Oludare Olufunwa (L) celebrates with team-mate Billy Koumetio (R) after scoring the fourth goal during the Premier League International Cup match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and Paris Saint-Germain Under-21's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is now three years since Koumetio made the surprise step up to first-team training with Liverpool in pre-season, which left players “raving about how good he is” and Jurgen Klopp hailing him as a “big talent.”

That season saw the Frenchman make the matchday squad on six occasions, including a debut against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League.

He also made a surprise start in the Carabao Cup victory over Leicester in 2021, only to be brought off at half-time, with there concerns over his speed and sharpness at the back.

Since then, Koumetio has been out of the first-team frame, with Jarell Quansah among those to step up in his absence, debuting in the 2-1 win over Newcastle.

Koumetio is left to impress elsewhere, then, with a return to his native France an opportunity to establish himself as a regular starter.

The centre-back originally joined Liverpool from US Orleans in 2018, having come through the academy setup at Vaulx-en-Velin and then Lyon.