Liverpool defender Sepp van den Berg has hinted that he may be returning to Preston for the 2021/22 campaign.
The 19-year-old has enjoyed an excellent spell at Deepdale since joining on January deadline day.
Speaking to their official matchday programme, the Dutchman said: “I will never forget the time I have had here and hopefully it will be next season as well, you never know.
“If I still live close by, if I stay at Liverpool, and if the fans are allowed back, I will come back as a fan next season. If I am not here playing.”
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Van den Berg went on to admit that playing competitive Championship football has helped him grow as a player.
In fact, it is not just Preston that are after his signature. Numerous other Championship sides are said to be chasing him.
Wherever he goes, it looks very likely that he will not be at Liverpool next season.
Van den Berg still an excellent prospect
Van den Berg was signed by Liverpool in 2019.
He has spent the majority of his time on Merseyside with the U23 side. He has also made four first-team appearances in cup competitions.
His situation was a strange one.
Van den Berg was getting regular game-time in the top tier of Dutch football with PEC Zwolle in the 2018/19 season, despite being just 17.
He seemed a step above academy football, but not yet good enough for Liverpool’s first team.
The fact that he was playing at centre-back, one of the most high-pressure positions on the pitch, in the Eredivisie was enough to show that van den Berg was a top prospect. You rarely see such young players starting games in that position.
Liverpool were signing a player that could be worth tens of millions of pounds in a few years for a minimal fee.
While he has been featuring at right-back for Preston, he will undoubtedly hope to become a centre-back in future.
In fact, Liverpool will probably insist that he plays in his natural role wherever he ends up.
There is little to gain from loaning him out to play a position that they do not see him settling in long-term.
Van den Berg has everything needed to be a top-class central defender.
With Joe Gomez and possibly Ozan Kabak and Ibrahima Konate at the club, it will be hard for him to become a regular for Liverpool going forward.
So he has to tread carefully and choose the correct path to improvement.
Continuing at Preston, where he is comfortable and settled, should be the right next step. That is as long as he is played in his natural position.