Premier League • England

Liverpool transfer announced, as ‘exciting’ Frenchman follows path trodden by three Reds stars

Billy Koumetio, Liverpool

Billy Koumetio has left Liverpool for a Championship club

Liverpool have announced that young defender Billy Koumetio has left Anfield by joining Championship side Blackburn Rovers on loan for the rest of the season.

Koumetio is a 21-year-old centre-back who left his native France in January 2019 by joining Liverpool’s academy. Koumetio has since made two first-team appearances under Jurgen Klopp, while also being shipped out to Austria Wien and USL Dunkerque on loan.

Koumetio recently returned from Dunkerque, but Liverpool do not feel he is ready to start pushing for a senior role. As such, he will continue his development at Blackburn over the next six months.

When announcing the France U20 international’s arrival at Ewood Park, Blackburn labelled him ‘a powerful and athletic defender’. Their director of football, Gregg Broughton, hopes fans will be ‘really excited’ about his signing.

“With Hayden Carter’s injury, we wanted to ensure that we could add pace and physicality to the team, and Billy brings both of those attributes to us,” the club chief said.

“This is his third senior loan spell, so this isn’t a player who’s just coming out of Under-21s football, and I think the fans will be really, really excited to see him play.”

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Koumetio has become the fourth Liverpool player to join Blackburn on loan in recent years, following Harvey Elliott, Tyler Morton and Leighton Clarkson.

Koumetio will be hoping to emulate the success of Elliott and Morton in particular. Elliott was nominated for the EFL Young Player of the Season Award during his spell there, while Morton established himself as a first-team regular and played in 46 games during the 2022-23 season.

While Koumetio has completed a temporary move away from Liverpool, one player who failed to leave on deadline day is goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. Nottingham Forest launched a £15million bid for him, but this was immediately rejected as Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool need to keep the 25-year-old until the summer.

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