Van Den Berg’s Liverpool debut delayed as he waits for international clearance
The 17-year-old defender will miss the friendly with Bradford on Sunday as his transfer from PEC Zwolle is still being processed by FIFA.
Summer signing Sepp Van Den Berg is set to make his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt on the club’s tour of the United States as he is still awaiting international clearance.
Paperwork for the 17-year-old, who arrived last month from PEC Zwolle for an initial £1.3million fee, is still being processed by FIFA and until the club receives official confirmation, he is only allowed to train with the squad.
It means he is unlikely to feature in Sunday’s second pre-season friendly at Bradford but will travel to America with the rest of the squad on Tuesday for training and matches against Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Sporting Lisbon.
Sepp van den Berg will not make his Reds debut tonight.— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 11, 2019
Liverpool already have four established centre-backs in Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren – who is interesting AC Milan but will only be allowed to leave for offers in excess of £25m – so Van Den Berg has been brought in with one eye on the future.
However, manager Jurgen Klopp has not ruled out the Holland Under-19 defender being involved with the first team this season.
“It depends. I open the door but the boys have to go through still,” Klopp said.
“He is a wonderful player as well, but because of FIFA rules he is not available in the moment, but we have other good players.
Our first US tour game kicks off in 1️⃣2️⃣ days' time! See you soon, America 🙌🇺🇸 https://t.co/MdxmI15eeP— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 7, 2019
“He thought his future should be here and I thought the same, so now he is here and now let’s work together.
“He is 17 years old and when you see him you forget that constantly, but he is 17 and so there is a lot to learn.
“The good thing is he has the most time to do so, so everything will be fine.”
Klopp is also expected to add more youth to the ranks with the acquisition of Fulham youngster Harvey Elliott, PA understands.
The 16-year-old, who holds the record for the Premier League’s youngest player, rejected a new deal at Craven Cottage and was in the stands to watch Liverpool’s 6-0 friendly win at Tranmere on Thursday.
He cannot, however, sign a professional contract until he turns 17 next April and a compensation fee is to be decided by a tribunal.
Nations League participants Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold return to pre-season training on Saturday, with Scotland captain Andy Robertson set to join them over the weekend, although none will feature at Bradford.