Saturday, February 4, 2023

Liverpool New Signing Surprisingly Included In Their UCL Squad: A Wise Decision By Klopp?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

Liverpool have confirmed on their official website that Sepp van den Berg will be a part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad in the UEFA Champions League this season. The Reds have submitted their complete squad list ahead of their Champions League Group E opener against Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium (via liverpoolfc.com).

However, van den Berg will have his work cut out for him as he will have to compete against Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren for a centre-half spot in Klopp’s starting XI. It seems like the Liverpool boss has decided to include the young Dutch defender as he wants to give him some experience of playing in Europe.

The Future Looks Bright For Sepp Van Den Berg

The 17-year-old has been an integral member of Neil Critchley’s Under-23 side, having made four appearances for them thus far. In a recent interview with the Liverpool Echo, Critchley was full of praise for the Dutch youngster and said, “Sepp is a real calming influence on the team.

“He has an assurance about his play and gives off an air of calmness at the back.

“Being vocal is something he can improve upon,  but I think that will come with the familiarity of being around the group and the players a little bit more.

“He’s new to the group but he will gain more confidence to do that.”

Van den Berg made a name for himself at his local club, PEC Zwolle last season. He had made a total of 22 senior appearances for the Dutch club before the Reds decided to snap him up earlier this summer. On the defensive end, the Zwolle-born prospect made an average of 1.3 tackles, 0.8 interceptions and 2.7 clearances per match in the Dutch Eredivisie (stats via whoscored). The Premier League 2 rising star has also represented the Netherlands at the U-19 level, scoring two goals in four matches for them so far.

What Will The Dutch Whizkid Add To Klopp’s Champions League Squad?

Van den Berg has the potential to be a future star in European football if he can continue developing as a player. Hence, there is no better way ahead for him than to learn from the club’s first-team starters. The Dutch defensive ace is a moderately paced centre-back who can make some crucial interceptions at the back. He is a defender who does not shy away from making a tackle. 

The ex-Zwolle talent can win a lot of aerial duels and can command his own penalty area with authority and conviction. He will also get a chance to learn from his international compatriots, Van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum as they could act as the mentors to the teen sensation during this Champions League campaign.

Van Den Berg’s Champions League Inclusion: Wise Move By The Reds?

All in all, it was a clever decision by Klopp to include van den Berg in his European match-day squad as the youngster will learn from the experience and will hopefully move on to become a world-class player in his position someday.

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