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Liverpool recall "exciting" defender from loan spell with Van Dijk injury 'worse than first feared'

Liverpool recall "exciting" defender from loan spell with Van Dijk injury 'worse than first feared'

Those are big shoes to fill.

Liverpool have recalled Billy Koumetio from his loan spell at Austria Vienna following news that Virgil van Dijk will miss over a month through injury.

Van Dijk was forced off at half-time during Liverpool's 3-1 defeat to Brentford after an injury to his hamstring.

And whilst Jurgen Klopp suggested it was "nothing serious" after the game, the Reds boss has since confirmed that he could be out for over a month.

Speaking after their 2-2 draw with Wolves on Saturday, Klopp stated: "He didn't feel a lot [at the time]. I took him off, actually, no risk. In the end, the diagnosis was pretty harsh, but we talk about weeks [out] – more than a month – [and not longer]."

The news will come as a real blow to Reds fans who have struggled defensively this season.

Potentially to provide extra defensive cover, centre-back Koumetio has now been recalled from his loan at Austria Vienna.

Koumetio recalled from loan

Koumetio initially moved to the Austrian Bundesliga in July of last year, and has gone on to make 15 appearances in all competitions.

However, it hasn't been plain sailing for the Englishman, who was demoted to Austria Vienna's youth team after being continually left out of the match day squad.

An ankle injury has also hindered his progress, whilst Austrian Football Association rules have limited his opportunities, with bonus payments up for grabs if teams don't name more than six foreign players in their squads.

Koumetio previously discussed the challenge of adapting to life in Austria. In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, he stated: "It's very different to Liverpool and even England, the country.

"The club is different, the league is different, the language is different. Everything is different."

The 20-year-old spent his time back in the Liverpool academy over the World Cup break, with the player scheduled to return to Austria in January. But instead, the youngster will stay in Merseyside.

Koumetio joined the Reds' Academy in 2018 and has made two appearances under Klopp, with a debut coming in the Champions League contest against FC Midtjylland in December 2020. The game finished 1-1 that day.

Liverpool do have defensive options in their arsenal, with Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips all available, and Koumetio will help bolster that back line.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Liverpool, Virgil Van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp, Football, Premier League

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