Liverpool may have a perfect heir to the Dutchman with a talented academy star.
Liverpool have begun their 2023/24 Premier League campaign in solid fashion, winning three of their four matches so far as they look to put the disappointment of last season behind them.
Jurgen Klopp has had to totally revamp his midfield following the departures of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Naby Keita, yet with summer arrivals including Ryan Gravenberch, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominick Szoboszlai, it looks as though the German has improved his options in the middle of the pitch.
With the club partaking in the Europa League for the first time in eight seasons, Klopp may give some youngsters a chance to gain crucial minutes, with Ben Doak and Jarrell Quansah already making matchday squads this season.
Indeed, the young Englishman has even made two appearances in the Premier League so far and looks like another exciting prospect to emerge from the academy.
That said, could it be another youngster who is currently out on loan who could eventually make the biggest splash in the first team and become an idea heir to Virgil van Dijk? Step forward Billy Koumetio.
How old is Billy Koumetio?
The French centre-back is 20-years-old and has been at the Anfield side since 2019, arriving from US Orleans.
He soon became the youngest ever player to represent the club in the Champions League, aged just 18 years and 25 days, and it looked as though his future was bright.
The academy starlet was lauded as “incredible” by Klopp in 2020, and he has since spent a period on loan at Austria Vienna, although he was recalled after just 11 games by the German.
The youngster did impress, however, showcasing his physicality by winning 60% of his total duels and making one tackle per game, gaining vital experience at senior level in the process
Could Billy Koumetio replace Virgil van Dijk?
The Dutchman has been a stalwart for the Reds since joining in January 2018, winning pretty much all there is to be won during his time on Merseyside, however, he is now closer to the end of his career rather than the start.
The 32-year-old has made 225 appearances for Liverpool and last season he ranked fourth in the squad for overall Sofascore rating (7.1) while also topping the pile for accurate passes per game (73) and clearances per game (4.2), proving that he is still the finest defender at the club.
Since the start of the 2020/21 season though, Van Dijk has missed 71 matches for club and country due to injury issues, and it looks as though he is beginning to get more susceptible to injury as time goes on.
An heir to Van Dijk won’t be required just yet, but when the time comes, Koumetio could be the perfect replacement. They both stand at a height of 6 foot 4 and utilise their physical presence during matches, something that Klopp looks for in his centre-backs.
The Frenchman is currently out on loan at Ligue 2 side USL Dunkerque, where he will be hoping to make more senior appearances and show the German just how good he can be when given an opportunity.
Quansah may be getting some opportunities just now, but it could be totally different next season and beyond.