By Angu Lesley
Football writer kick442.com-Cameroon
Mohamed Salah’s goal for Liverpool turned out to be a minor part of the attraction on the night as Liverpool’s teenage defender Billy Koumetio made history on Wednesday night in the Champions League.
The French-born Cameroon-eligible defender, come on at half-time in the 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland and became the club’s youngest ever player in the competition.
Billy Koumetio made Liverpool history by becoming the club’s youngest ever player in the Champions League at 18 years and 25 days old.
Replacing Fabinho in the 46th minute meant the former Liverpool ball boy broke Antonio Barragan’s record (18 years and 59 days) in the match-day six game against Midtjylland.
The young defender who moved to Anfield in 2018 from French side Orleans signed a first team contract last summer.
He made his premier league debut in August this year and has since done well whenever he has a responsibility for Club especially in the absence of his idol Van Dijk.
It may seem unbelievable but Koumetio was one of the ball boys at Anfield when they beat Barcelona 4-0 in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final in 2019.
The sweeper has won two caps for the Under-18 national team of France but remains eligible to represent Cameroon through his parents. It seems Billy put all of his experience together to make sure it was a good start.
Reminiscenting the night in his post-match interview, Billy couldn’t hide his emotions.
“It was [blows cheeks]… amazing, unbelievable. I could see the big boys, the big players, in front of me. It was a great experience for me.
“That drives me a lot. When I was sitting so close to the pitch and saw the big boys, they really inspired me.
“I was motivated to work really hard and [in order] to go to that level.”
The boy whose football journey has been simply amazing from the early days of his apprenticeship at Lyon to Orleans then made a staggering revelation.
“When I used to play for Lyon, I was playing left winger. Then I played left-back, too. I think it was Under-14s and at the end of the season the coach put me at centre-back – I think because of my height.
“Now I’m very happy because I think it’s my position and it’s better for me.
“I was trying to get my own style but at the moment Virgil van Dijk really inspires me. I go to the game most of the time and I like watching Virgil doing his game very, very well. Sometimes I’m trying to copy him.”
The left winger cum defender has quickly adapted to the new role and looks destined for more historic days at Anfield.
“He (Billy Koumetio) will learn especially if we let them have the experience without making this one a big game”.
“It was a wonderful experience to have a first champions league game but the most important is how many a player has,” Klopp concluded.
The 1.95m French U-18 international and potential Indomitable Lion is hugely appreciated by the current technical staff of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Compatriot Joel Matip of Liverpool was an unused substitute in the game.
Billy Koumetio is developing in an environment which respects Matip and has history with great retired Cameroonian defender Rigobert Song.
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