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Bundesliga side plots Liverpool transfer 'attack' as talks expected 'within days'

Sepp van den Berg of 1.FSV Mainz 05 celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Volkswagen Arena on May 18, 2024 in Wolfsburg, Germany.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Selim Sudheimer/Getty Images)


Liverpool may be about to lose another central defender, following on from Joël Matip’s time with the Reds drawing to a close last weekend. While he last played for the club earlier this season, the next potential departee hasn’t been seen in the famous shirt for over four years.

The center-back in question is Sepp van den Berg, who made four Liverpool appearances in domestic cup competitions back in 2019/20. He has since been temporarily with Preston North End and Schalke, before spending this season on loan with Mainz, the former club of Jürgen Klopp.

Van den Berg was an important player for a team that spent the campaign battling against relegation. He scored three goals, including a winner against Augsburg and the equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund. Last weekend, the 22-year-old bagged the decisive goal in a win at Wolfsburg. With contributions as vital as these, it’s little surprise Mainz would like to make his temporary move a permanent switch.

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This has been reported by BILD, who claim the Bundesliga side are planning a ‘transfer attack’, having made Van den Berg a ‘priority’ signing this summer. It also claims Mainz are planning talks ‘in the next few days’ with Liverpool. A supposed fee of $10.8m (£8.5m/€10m) has been mooted for a player who has two years remaining on his current contract.

Even though the Reds will be in the market for central defensive reinforcements this summer, there is no indication that van den Berg is viewed as a solution. However, based on his performance in 2023/24, it’s easy to see why Mainz would be keen to secure the Liverpool man.

Per FBRef, he made the most blocks in the Bundesliga this season, the third most across England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Van den Berg held similar standings of second and fourth respectively for aerial duels won too, with his success percentage in the air the ninth highest in the German top flight.

He was also third for clearances made in the Bundesliga this term. While these numbers are all encouraging, they are partly a product of Mainz’s lowly status. When a side has more defending to do, its players will naturally accumulate such statistics. Even so, Van den Berg did not let his loan club down, and he could prove to be an asset for it in the future too.

Liverpool.com says: No Liverpool player should be written off until Slot has had a chance to assess them. He may dimly recall Van den Berg, who faced AZ Alkmaar when he was assistant manager there. An exit feels best for the center-back, though, and he would certainly be received warmly at Mainz should this transfer occur. His performances might even have earned him a bigger move.