Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp promoted several academy stars to first-team training during the international break amid an injury crisis.
As reported by The Mirror, eight Reds youngsters were amongst those in training as Klopp’s side prepare to take on Leicester at the weekend.
The Reds are without long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, whilst Mohamed Salah is set to miss out due to self-isolation protocols.
In addition, there have been concerns over the fitness of Rhys Williams, Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
With this in mind on top of all the players away on international duty, Klopp took the opportunity to keep an eye out on several future hopefuls.
Goalkeepers Vitezslav Jaros, Marcelo Pitaluga and Jakub Ojrzynski, defender Billy Koumetio, midfielders Jake Cain and Leighton Clarkson, and attackers Paul Glatzel and Luis Longstaff were all involved.
Given the Liverpool defence has been particularly hard hit by injuries, Koumetio is the most likely to be in line for first-team minutes in the coming weeks if the defensive ranks remain depleted.
Despite having just turned 18, the 6ft 3in centre-back has already wowed Klopp, who spoke highly of him in August, when Liverpool were in Austria preparing for the upcoming season.
“Billy the kid. He doesn’t look like a kid!” Klopp told the Reds media team. “In my opinion, his face looks like a kid but then all the rest is like, wow!
“I told him, ‘Last time I saw you, you were like 20 centimetres less if I’m right.’ That’s pretty special. Yes, he’s a big talent.
“Billy was unfortunately injured for quite a while, so he’s now coming back. The perfect situation would be that he maybe really first be with the U23s and stuff like this.
“But a training camp is a nice opportunity for him, it’s good for us to see him.”
Liverpool have been extremely unfortunate with injuries this season, their defence severely depleted, and while it’s not ideal to have to call up academy players, needs must.
That said, the likes of Williams and Nathaniel Phillips have impressed in their outings, and with adversity comes opportunity, so hopefully this period will be the making of these young players.
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