With minutes hard to come by at Liverpool, even in the midst of a defensive injury crisis, Sepp van den Berg headed to Preston North End last week on loan, replacing Ben Davies as the more veteran centre half headed in the other direction and joined the Reds.
On the weekend, the 19-year-old Dutch youth international made his debut, coming off the bench in the second half. The eventual 2-1 loss for Preston wasn’t the scoreline he would have hoped for on his debut, but he says he’s looking forward to what comes next.
“Hopefully I can get a lot of playing time and get a really good experience,” he said. The Championship is a really good league. It’s physical, it’s quick from end to end, so it will be perfect for me if I get some minutes and get experience and develop myself.”
If he does develop well at Preston and sees the pitch often enough, the club will be able to convert his six-month loan into an 18-month stay at Deepdale, potentially giving both player and the club he’s on loan at a measure of continuity and a win for all involved.
Liverpool paid £1.3M up front—potentially rising to £4.4M—to sign Van den Berg from PEC Zwole as a 17-year-old, speaking to just how highly rated the youngster was by the Reds’ scouting and analytics department. Hopefully at Preston he can live up to that.
“Hopefully in training and in the games I can play well,” he added. “It’s harder in the Championship itself, really intense and really physical, so of course I have to adapt but I really like it here and hopefully we can make a good second half of the season.”