SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

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 recall SIXTH player from loan as centre-back returns

Yet another Liverpool loanee has been recalled early from their time away, with defender Billy Koumetio returning to Merseyside from a spell abroad.

With the exception of Sepp van den Berg, Tyler Morton and Owen Beck‘s spells at Mainz, Hull and Dundee respectively, Liverpool’s loan players have endured a generally disappointing first half of the 2023/24 season.

Among them is defender Koumetio, who has been in the northern France playing for Ligue 2 club USL Dunkerque.

While there, he made nine total appearances, all of them starts but with some coming at left-back. His time over the Channel got off to a nightmare start as he was sent off for two yellow cards in his first game.

Things improved afterwards but not enough for him to deem the loan spell a success.

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - Monday, August 23, 2021: Liverpool's Billy Koumetio during the pre-match warm-up before the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Everton FC Under-23's and Liverpool FC Under-23's, the Mini-Merseyside Derby, at Haig Avenue. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Both clubs have now confirmed his return to Merseyside, with Dunkerque saying they “wish the central defender good luck and success for the rest of his career.”

The move back to Liverpool comes after he was missing from training, according to French publication La Voix Du Nord.

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

Koumetio, who signed his first professional contract in 2020, made two appearances for Liverpool’s first team before being loaned Austria Wien in 2022 – his time there also ended early.

2JRPE8B August 25, 2022, Istanbul, Warsaw, Turkey: Billy Koumetio of Austria Wien during the UEFA Europa League Play-Off second leg match between Fenerbahce and Austria Wien at Ulker Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on August 25, 2022. ( Photo by Seskimphoto ) .LIGA EUROPY UEFA PILKA NOZNA SEZON 2022/2023.FOT. SESKIMPHOTO/NEWSPIX.PL.POLAND, TURKEY, GERMANY, AUSTRIA AND UK OUT !!!.---.Newspix.pl *** Local Caption *** www.newspix.pl .mail us: info@newspix.pl.call us: 0048 022 23 22 222.---.Polish Picture Agency by Ringier Axel Springer Poland (Credit Image: © Seskimphoto/Newspix via ZUMA Press)

His progression seems to have slowed since he began to see more first-team action, and Jarell Quansah has firmly overtaken him as the brightest defender coming out of the academy.

Liverpool are reportedly in the market for a young centre-half, but recalling Koumetio is unlikely to have been influenced by this.

Another defender, Nat Phillips, has returned to Liverpool from a loan this month. However, the 26-year-old’s time at Celtic was scheduled to end at this time, unlike Koumetio’s.

We would expect him to be considered a better option than Koumetio for Klopp in defence. Rhys Williams also came back from Scotland in this window, but has now been sent out to Port Vale for the second half of the campaign.

Someone who has had more success, though, is goalkeeper Luke Hewitson, with his loan at Stalybridge Celtic extended until the end of the season.