Sepp van den Berg joined Liverpool last summer, tipped to be on his way to becoming one of the most sought-after young centre backs in Europe.
Liverpool wanted him, but so did Bayern Munich and his boyhood club PSB Eindhoven – and he’s glad he turned down those two mega clubs for the Reds.
The young Netherlands defender has described Liverpool as a “family club” and explains that Jurgen Klopp is a more affectionate manager than other bosses.
“The warmth you feel, as a young player at Liverpool, is so special,” he told the Mirror. “I will tell you the best example of this. At other clubs, you arrive in the morning and people will say ‘Good morning’ or shake hands.
“But, here at Liverpool, you get a hug from the manager!
“Jurgen Klopp gives you a hug – and it’s those special little things that made all the young players feel appreciated and valued.
“That kind of warmth from the manager gives us the hope that we are all on the path to the Liverpool first team.”
The teenager cost the club £1.3million in the summer – a high figure to be paid for a lad for the youth setup, but it’s clear to see why he’s a special case.
Sepp put in a decent shift for the Reds recently, as Liverpool knocked Shrewsbury Town out of the FA Cup on the second attempt.
And by ‘Liverpool’ I do mean our U23s, as that was the lineup that Neil Critchley put out in the absence of the senior squad.
Sepp stood out in the lineup as he put in a commanding performance from the back, but players like Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott obviously stole the limelight as they’re exciting, attacking talents, but van den Berg being part of a back line that kept a clean sheet against a senior team cannot be ignored.
The young Dutch defender believes he made the right decision when choosing Liverpool as his next club. “I had the chance to go to Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven or Liverpool,” he said.
“I was amazed that such big clubs wanted to sign me and I thought PSV Eindhoven was a brilliant option for me because I have been a fan from a young age.
“But, once Liverpool came for me, I knew where I would go because I can only describe my feelings for the club as mega.
“It is such a big club, but, at the same time, it feels like a family club. Thanks to Klopp’s approach and vision, I am up against the best attackers in the world several times a week.
“He lets me train and play against Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
“That is something I could only have dreamt of in the past. These guys really belong to the very best attackers on this globe.
“Of course, it is hard. But when you are up against them every week and you learn some valuable lessons, then you only get better and stronger.”