Liverpool’s forgotten man vows to displace Jurgen Klopp’s regular starters | Football | Sport

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Sepp van den Berg arrived at Anfield more than four years ago and has now expressed his desire to oust one of Liverpool’s premier centre-backs. Currently on loan with Mainz, the Dutch defender has played all but one of their Bundesliga matches this season and should return to the Reds once his loan spell ends.

Jurgen Klopp is set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season so uncertainty circles around Van den Berg’s future. The 22-year-old is contracted to the club until 2026 and thinks he is playing at a level to compete for a spot in the first team, despite it being a challenge.

Van den Berg said: “If I go back to Liverpool, they may want me to stay. For me, it is really important that I play. In the years before, I did not have the feeling that I would be in the starting line-up next to Virgil [van Dijk] at Liverpool. I don’t know yet what that will be like next summer.

“I think I am doing well. I can handle the level at Liverpool, and I can compete. But, becoming a starter with Virgil and Konaté will be difficult.”

Van den Berg only made the odd cup appearance and U21 start before joining Preston North End on loan in 2021, where he appeared in all but one of their 2021/22 Championship matches. He then failed to make an impact on Klopp’s squad and was loaned out to Schalke.

Now, at Klopp’s former club Mainz, the Dutchman is one of the first names on the team sheet, missing just a single clash through suspension, and has admitted that he prefers playing outside his home country.

The defender added: “I like abroad better. The level is higher. Nothing to the detriment of the Eredivisie. PSV is doing quite well at the moment, only the basic level in Germany is higher. That’s why I do it.

“That’s what every little boy wants. Only I prefer to play with Mainz against Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig. You name it. Even Köln is a big club with a nice stadium and lots of fans.

“Of course, clubs like Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord and even AZ are nice, but abroad attracts me more. It’s a shame that the national coach looks more in the Netherlands. I’ll keep doing my thing. Hopefully, one day, the Dutch national team will come.”

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