Van Den Berg’s Liverpool debut delayed as he waits for international clearance

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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.

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 Dutch 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.

“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 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.

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Liverpool youngster Rhian Brewster a ‘top talent’ with an important role, says Jurgen Klopp

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Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster has been told by manager Jurgen Klopp he has an important role to play this season.

The 19-year-old, who scored twice in a 6-0 pre-season friendly win against Tranmere, could end up saving the Reds boss millions in the transfer window if he fulfills his potential.

He has been lined up to fill the boots vacated by Daniel Sturridge as the team’s third-choice centre-forward after Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi, who has just signed a new contract.

However, Klopp wants the player to start developing his all-round game.

“I love the boy, he is fantastic player, but one of the goals I would have scored,” said Klopp.

“We knew Rhian was a good player before. Why should I play it down? I just don’t want to talk after a game about the guy who scored two goals.

“I saw a really good game and Rhian is a fantastic player.

“One hundred per cent [it is a big season] but it depends on him as well. Divock Origi stays which is good news, Bobby Firmino is still there.

“Rhian Brewster is a top striker, he is a top talent and I have told him already that he has an important role this year but how important depends on him.

“We will see. He has to play different positions as well – the centre, wing is possible I think, we will see how we line up, but there will be opportunities for him. I am sure.”

Liverpool have so far signed youngster Sepp Van Den Berg but are not expected to make any major signings this summer.

“Rhian Brewster, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t play last year, all the young boys didn’t play for us last year,” said Klopp.

“The transfer market is open. We will see what we do, but I don’t think it will be the biggest transfer window of all time.”

In addition to Brewster’s double there were also goals for Origi, Curtis Jones, Bobby Duncan and Nathaniel Clyne in a squad which relied heavily on youth, with a number of internationals still to return to training.

Of the squad which won the Champions League 40 days ago, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Simon Mignolet, Joe Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Origi and Joel Matip all featured for 45 minutes at Prenton Park.

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Liverpool sweat on Xherdan Shaqiri fitness

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Liverpool star Shaqiri is being reminded of his Bayern Munich days.

Liverpool forward Xherdan Shaqiri is facing a battle to be ready for the start of the season after manager Jurgen Klopp revealed he would be sidelined for “a while”.

Shaqiri is still carrying a calf injury sustained on international duty with Switzerland in their Nations League defeat to England on June 9.

The former Stoke player returned to the club’s Melwood training ground this week and assessment by medical staff has given Klopp a headache as he steps up his pre-season preparations.

“Shaq is still injured from the national team and it will take a while until he is in again,” Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.

“He has a tear in his calf, so he will not be involved for a while.”

The 27-year-old, a £13 million buy last summer, has plenty to prove to Klopp after fading in the second half of their Champions League-winning campaign.

Having enjoyed a two-month, nine-match purple patch from late October – in which he scored six goals – he fell out of favour in 2019.

Shaqiri made just 11 appearances after the turn of the year, only four of which were starts.

His current absence leaves Klopp short in attacking options with the returns of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah (Africa Cup of Nations) and Roberto Firmino (Copa America) all delayed due to their involvement in international tournaments this summer.

Champions League hero Divock Origi – now in the final year of his contract with a new deal offered but not yet signed – is the manager’s only senior forward after the departure of Daniel Sturridge.

Youngster Rhian Brewster will be part of the first-team squad full-time this season after recovering from serious ankle and knee injuries while Harry Wilson, who impressed on loan at Derby, will get a chance in pre-season.

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