The Liverpool Echo’s Reds correspondent, Matt Addison, has hailed defender Sepp van den Berg after his goal for the club’s U23s against Huddersfield Town, per Blood Red Liverpool (February 23, 25:24).
Van den Berg is on the fringes of the club’s first-team.
The 18-year-old has already made four appearances for the senior side, playing three times in the EFL Cup, including 90 minutes against Arsenal, and once in the FA Cup against Shrewsbury Town.
And Addison believes that his confidence will have swelled after his goal, while also taking the time to praise his performance against the Shrews in the cup.
He said: “For him to get on the scoresheet again, that’s just going to boost his confidence even more.
“I thought against Shrewsbury he was absolutely brilliant. I mean that was by far and away the best I’ve seen him play, for him to take on that responsibility and he seemed to be far more aggressive than he normally has been.
“He’s obviously a tall, strong player, but you know that that hasn’t always come through when he’s been playing for the under 23s this season.
“Sometimes you know big aerial forwards and long balls over the top can cause trouble but you know I must admit I was slightly concerned for him playing against Shrewsbury.”
He added: “Ki-Jana Hoever, as well, I think is kind of a similar level, they’re very similar age, obviously both from the Netherlands as well.
“So lots of similarities there and look, long term is he going to be a Liverpool player at first team level? Who knows but he’s certainly making strides in the right direction.”
Klopp clearly trusts van den Berg.
This is a player who has been drafted into the starting XI on four separate occasions and he is a player who can only improve if he is given the opportunity.
Of course, he has some truly exceptional players in his way, including Virgil van Dijk, the most expensive defender in professional football.
Addison is right to sound a note of caution in the sense that nobody can truly predict whether or not the young Dutchman will end up having a similar impact to his countryman on the senior squad.
But he is certainly doing everything he can and each time he has been called upon, he has stepped up.
If he continues in this vein, he will surely be given more and more chances under Klopp’s management.