When Liverpool take on Preston North End on Wednesday evening in the League Cup, there’s likely to be a familiar face lining up for the opposition after Liverpool confirmed that they have granted permission for Sepp van den Berg to face them.
The 19-year-old Dutch youth international is back with Preston for a second season on loan with the Reds, and has already racked up 17 appearances and more than 1,400 minutes for the Championship side this season playing mostly as a right wingback.
“Of course he should play,” noted Liverpool assistant Pepijn Lijnders, who as usual took pre-match press conference duties for the Reds ahead of a League Cup tie. “It’s like if you want to be a chef then you need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
“We send our players on loan to get games and then there’s a good game coming, so why not let them play? We want to give young players opportunities and for Sepp it is a big game, one he looks forward to and that’s the most important thing.”
At 6’2”, Van den Berg was signed by Liverpool as a centre half project from PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands in 2019, but his pace has meant most of his minutes so far have come as a fullback or wingback since joining up with Preston last season.
What that means for his longer term development is an open question, but right now the most important thing for a player his age is to get playing time, and that something he’s certainly been getting as a regular starter in the Championship.
“It’s exactly what he needed,” added Lijnders. “He’s young centre half playing a different position but fighting in the Championship. If you can come out of that league you will be ready for a lot so we can’t wait to see him in pre-season next year.”