Sepp van den Berg demands to leave Liverpool and hits out over transfer plan

Sepp van den Berg has accused Liverpool of pricing him out of a permanent move this summer, insisting he is ready to leave Anfield after five years.

Van den Berg signed for the Reds from PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands as a 17-year-old, but has made just four senior appearances since that move in 2019, with loan spells coming with Schalke, Preston North End and most recently Mainz.

After Van den Berg's impressive campaign in the Bundesliga, Liverpool are looking for around £20m for the 22-year-old centre-back with interest from a handful of Premier League clubs that include Brentford and newly-promoted Southampton.

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Liverpool are adamant there is no clause in place that allows Mainz the opportunity to make the move permanent for under £5m and in an interview with De Telegraaf in the Netherlands, Van den Berg said he feels the price being demanded by his parent club is prohibitive.

"I knew that I couldn't get from PEC Zwolle [straight] to Liverpool's first team," Van den Berg says. "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.

"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 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."