Liverpool youngster Sepp van den Berg has revealed the role Jurgen Klopp has played in making the youngsters feel “appreciated and valued”, and explained why he rejected the advances of other top European clubs to join the Reds.
The 18-year-old made only his fourth senior appearance in the 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury in the FA Cup, but insists he has felt welcome ever since he arrived at the club.
He told the Mirror: “The warmth you feel, as a young player at Liverpool, is so special.
“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.”
Van den Berg, who arrived on Merseyside from PEC Zwolle for £1.3million in January 2018, was criticised for moving away from Holland at such a young age.
But his mind was made up once he met Klopp for the first time.
He added: “I had the chance to go to Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven or Liverpool.
“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.”