Sander Berge Welcomes 'Wonderful' Praise from Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Sander Berge of KRC Genk challenges for the ball with Naby Keita of Liverpool  during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and KRC Genk at Anfield on November 05, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Sander Berge has described being overwhelmed by the praise lavished on him by Jurgen Klopp following Liverpool's 2-1 win over Genk in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.

Genk midfield talisman Berge impressed at Anfield, earning the attention of Reds boss Klopp, who offered some kind words to the player after the full-time whistle. Berge told VG (h/t MailOnline's Jeorge Bird): "It was a great moment. You have a big smile when you receive those sorts of compliments. It is wonderful when such a renowned manager as Jurgen Klopp comes over and says something like that."

Klopp was said to have told Berge "you are an interesting player, a very interesting player," according to Norwegian publication VG (h/t Stuart Ballard of the Daily Express).

Whether the positive back-and-forth between Klopp and Berge leads to concrete interest from Liverpool remains to be seen. However, Bird noted how the 21-year-old's current deal expires in 2021, describing how a "suitable offer" may even tempt Genk to cash in on their rising star ahead of schedule.

Any offers presented to the Belgian club appear likely to come from the Premier League. Berge was the subject of interest from England's top flight during this summer's transfer window.

He was reportedly a target for newly promoted Sheffield United. Genk director of football Dimitri de Conde told Sport/Foot Magazine (h/t Tom Coast of Sport Witness): "We received a nice offer from Sheffield United, close to what we wanted for him. Not far off €20m, but it wasn't the club he wanted. Playing the Champions League, that's something."

De Conde has responded to Klopp's words by reaffirming Genk's commitment to keeping Berge in the fold a little longer:

Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland

Genk’s Director of Football Dimitri De Condé to @VTMNIEUWS / @HLN_BE after the Klopp compliments for Berge: “He proved that he can perform at the top level. He is young, strong. We are going to fight hard to keep him with us this season. We will see in the coming weeks.” #lfc https://t.co/SaU5MIuuEK

Berge is set to court more interest thanks to his burgeoning performances. He's proved his leadership qualities as Genk skipper, while he has also showcased his versatility at both ends of midfield.

He's generally better in defensive areas where he can break up opposition attacks and also dictate play by launching moves from deep. A pair of goals in Belgium's Jupiler League, to go with one in the Super Cup, also hint at a talent for finishing.

Liverpool don't have an urgent need for midfield reinforcements at the moment. Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum ensure there is a secure base in the middle, while Jordan Henderson is a steady presence further forward.

Klopp's options in attacking areas have also increased with the return to fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who netted the winner against Berge and Co. on Merseyside. Aside from Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Naby Keita offer Liverpool additional flair and craft.

bet365 @bet365

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's last four goals: - An absolute screamer from 30 yards - Drilled into the bottom corner from 25 yards. - A golazo with the outside of his foot - Half-volley into the top right corner https://t.co/5hijfIvwfe

But while the rapidly developing Berge may have caught Klopp's eye, his considerable skills may ultimately find a new home beyond Anfield.