Sepp van den Berg’s loan move to Preston North End has done the young Dutchman wonders.

A £1.3m signing from PEC Zwolle in the summer of 2019, the 19-year-old made four appearances for Liverpool during his first season in England prior to being sent on loan to Deepdale.

Despite the Lilywhites enduring a challenging campaign, the defender reaped the benefits of regular game-time in the Championship as he swiftly secured his place in the Lancashire side’s starting XI.

Having finished his half-season stint with 16 appearances to his name, Van den Berg admits he is already eying another temporary move away from Anfield.

“I don’t really know where I will be in the summer. I want to go on loan again,” he exclusively told the ECHO. “That’s what I’d prefer. I will see, there is no rush. I have a nice little break to think about it.

“I want to be out on loan in the summer and to gain more experience so I can be ready when I come back to Liverpool to play in the first team.

“I have to wait and see what the plan is and see what the chances are for me to go on loan again.

“I have grown a lot during my time here and during the whole year. I have felt that I have become stronger and more experienced here. My time at Preston has really helped. We will see.

“Wherever I go in the summer, I will be more experienced. I just want to show everyone what I can be able to do. I will see where I will be in the summer but I’m not really sure yet.”

So could a return to Preston be on the cards? Van den Berg certainly isn’t ruling it out.

“Looking to next season, I want to go on loan again,” he admits. “I want to play again and hopefully play more than I have this season.

“I have spoken with Liverpool. I’ve been keeping in contact with them. I had contact with them after every game or before the game if they wanted someone to watch the game and give me feedback.

“My loan has gone well and I really like it here. I like the league I’m playing in. It’s tough but I’ve been playing a lot of games as well. It’s been good for me, it’s been a really good experience for me.”

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He continued: “I played in the Dutch league for the first team and they’re two different types of leagues. It’s more physical here, more direct in my opinion.

“It’s been very different to every league I’ve been playing but it’s been good for me and I’ve really enjoyed my time at Liverpool and at Preston now.

“In Holland it’s more about playing and keeping the ball. Of course, the Under-23s was good for me as well when I came to Liverpool but you want a new challenge.

“Preston is a club I’m looking at as an option for next season. It’s on my list for sure but I have to see what happens in the summer.”

Van den Berg’s loan with Preston came to an end on Saturday as the Lilywhites won 2-1 away at Nottingham Forest to clinch a 13th-placed finish in the Championship.

The victory was North End’s fourth in a row as they finished the season strongly under caretaker manager Frankie McAvoy, who has since been appointed as the club’s new Head Coach on a permanent basis.

And while pleased with Preston’s choice of replacement, the Liverpool loanee was disappointed to see Alex Neil, the man who brought him to Deepdale and gave him his initial opportunity in the side, lose his job.

“It was tough, it’s always tough,” Van den Berg recalled. “I experienced it one time before this in Holland when I was playing there.

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“It’s a really hard time for everyone and isn’t nice. It was good for the players that we kept the same staff and didn’t have a whole new team coming in.

“Everyone knew Frankie when he came so it wasn’t much of a big change. It really helped but it wasn’t a nice experience losing the manager.”

While Liverpool fans will recognise Van den Berg as a centre-back, he has actually spent most of his time at Preston playing at right-back and right wing-back.

And the 19-year-old has revealed he was not fazed by the positional change, admitting he’s comfortably playing anywhere across the backline.

“When I came here, the most important thing for me was to play,” he said. “I know I am a centre-back but I can play right-back as well.

“It’s been good, it’s been challenging for me because it’s a little bit out of my comfort zone but it’s been good.

“The first game he (Neil) started me, I was playing right-back and he chatted with me before the game to ask if I was comfortable doing it.

“I said yes, I did well and I stayed there. It was as easy as that. I played there when I was younger. I have a little bit of experience.

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“He played me there, I did well and since then I played every game there. It’s been good.

“As long as you play well, I can learn a lot of things from right-back and I have done that. It’s been really good to be able to play.

“If it’s right-back or centre-back, it didn’t really matter for me in the moment. It’s been a good experience.”

But despite his success at right-back at Deepdale, Van den Berg admits he is unlikely to take up such a position at Liverpool.

Granted he’s willing to play any position if asked and it opened up an opportunity in Klopp’s starting XI, but he is well-aware that Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shoes are rather different ones to fill.

“The way with the wing-backs at Liverpool is different to anywhere else,” he chuckles. “It’s not really suitable for me but if someone needs me as a striker, I will play there as well.

“I am still a centre-back, I prefer playing centre-back. I am a defender. If you need me to be a left-back or a right-back, I can do that.

“But if I come back to Liverpool, I will need to change a lot to play at right-back!”