Premier League • England

Liverpool man takes future into his own hands with big exit admission that’ll put Euro suitors on alert

Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever, Liverpool

Sepp van den Berg has spoken about leaving Liverpool

Liverpool defender Sepp van den Berg has revealed he may be forced to leave the Reds on a permanent basis this summer so he can emerge as a vital player for a different club.

Van Den Berg is a former Netherlands U21 international who joined Liverpool from PEC Zwolle in July 2019. Since then, the centre-back has made just four first-team appearances for Liverpool.

Instead, Van Den Berg has spent a large amount of time out on loan, having played for Preston North End between February 2021 and May 2022, as well as FC Schalke 04 during the 2022-23 campaign.

Van Den Berg has returned to Germany this term, as he is partway through a season-long loan at Jurgen Klopp’s former side FSV Mainz 05.

When Mainz captured the 22-year-old last summer, they hinted in a club statement that he might end up joining ‘over a longer period of time’, potentially through a buy option.

Van Den Berg is earning important senior experience, having played in 21 of Mainz’s 22 Bundesliga games so far. He also scored the winner against Augsburg on Saturday, leaping above opposition goalkeeper Finn Dahmen to head home from a free-kick.

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Van Den Berg is showing clubs in Germany and beyond that he has the potential to become a reliable top-flight player, as WhoScored rank him as Mainz’s best defender this season with an average rating of 6.88. The Liverpool youngster has registered more clearances per game than any of his team-mates (4.3) and is second when it comes to most blocks per game (0.7).

Should Joel Matip leave Liverpool on a free transfer when his contract expires this summer, then it is possible the club will recall Van Den Berg to bolster their defensive options.

Player says he ‘might choose to leave’ Liverpool

However, Van Den Berg has revealed he does not want to go back to Merseyside and simply sit on the bench.

“If I go back to Liverpool, they might want me to stay. If I see that I won’t get much game time, then I might choose to leave. It’s really important to me that I play,” he said in an interview with Dutch source Voetbal Nieuws (via Sports Mole).

“In previous years, I didn’t feel like I would be starting next to Virgil [van Dijk]. I don’t know yet what my chances will be like next summer.

“I think I’m doing well. I can handle playing at Liverpool. I can compete. But being a starter is different. Virgil and [Ibrahima] Konate are not easy to beat. I know it will be hard.”

Liverpool should be able to make a decent amount of money if they decide to put Van Den Berg up for sale. They tied him down to a new long-term contract before he joined Schalke in August 2022, putting them in a strong negotiating position.

The centre-half is valued at €5million (£4.3m) by transfermarkt, though that price will rise if he keeps shining for Mainz.

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