Liverpool might have something special in Sepp van den Berg – the standout loanee of 2021/22. The Dutchman is showcasing a new skill.
Sepp van den Berg made a smart move away from Liverpool this season. He went off to Preston again, having spent the second half of last season there. The then-teenager joined a club he knew, then, forgoing the usual bedding-in period for this season.
It’s proven to be an overwhelming success, with Van den Berg establishing himself as a first-team regular. He’s started 20 Championship games already, with another three in the League Cup. That, on its own, is fantastic experience for a young player.
And he’s delivering well, too. Van den Berg wins 2.4 tackles per game, for instance, which is the 14th-best rate in the Championship (per Whoscored).
What really stands out, though, is that Van den Berg is doing this across multiple positions. He developed at Liverpool as a centre-back who could operate at right-back but Preston have brought him on as a right midfielder.
11 of his starts this season came in that role, with another nine as a centre-back. It’s a pretty brilliant combination – how many centre-backs can hold their own as a wide midfielder? How many could do that at 20?
Van den Berg looks like an exciting prospect, then. He’s holding his own in a decent league, all while making himself a very useful footballer. Liverpool would undoubtedly love to have a versatile centre-back in their squad.
So many of the senior players are already capable of playing multiple positions. Squad players, in particular, thrive on covering gaps in the squad – James Milner perhaps shows that best.
Perhaps Van den Berg can carve out a future at Anfield as a result of his versatility. We can easily see Liverpool making use of him and if he continues to develop as he is, there should be a role for him in a couple of years.