Frozen out Liverpool star makes transfer demand as Arne Slot inherits headache on day one at Anfield

-Credit: (Image: Icon Sport via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Liverpool's Sepp van den Berg is seeking a permanent move away from Anfield, after enduring numerous loan spells.

The Dutch player has been out on loan four times since joining Liverpool, spending two seasons in the Championship and then moving to various clubs in Germany's Bundesliga. He is yet to make a Premier League appearance for the Reds and wants to secure a regular starting spot elsewhere. The 22-year-old claimed that he's been neglected by his parent club, even as he seeks more playtime each week. This leaves their newly appointed manager Arne Slot, whose contract starts this Saturday, to handle an unhappy player who is valued at £20million.

Speaking with De Telegraaf, van den Berg said: "I knew that I couldn't get from PEC Zwolle [straight] to Liverpool's first team. I could have been at Liverpool for one or two more years, but I wanted to play with all my might. I demanded to be [loaned] out. Every time, because I felt that I was getting better and better. I also made great strides physically."

He added: "Just the whole [first] season. On the one hand, that was great. Yes, how does that work, you're 17, 18 years old, you're central to the defence in training against the starting XI, you have to build up and then Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah come running towards you. It was tough, but I enjoyed it. But in all honesty, I wasn't looked after anymore.

"I also felt 'ready' [in 2021]. I had a good conversation with the management. He said he had received good reports. I understood that I wasn't going to play (Virgil) Van Dijk, Matip or Konate out [the team]. But I thought I could be right behind it. When I didn't get a chance again, I said: 'Figure it out, I want to leave.

"You (Liverpool) didn't exude confidence in me all this time, but you do want to hinder my future. I want to keep playing every week and develop myself further. In Germany, I enjoy Dortmund away with 70,000 people, Bayern Munich away against Harry Kane, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Leverkusen, against clubs like that I am challenged every week."

The Reds have denied there was a £5m agreement that allowed Mainz, where Van den Berg was most recently on loan, to make the deal permanent. Liverpool have several centre-halves already on their books, which is why Van den Berg has had to head out on loan to secure regular minutes.

Van Dijk remains the team's defensive leader and, in the final weeks of the season, had been joined by youngster Jarell Quansah. Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez are also options at the heart of the back four, which leaves minutes at a premium.