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Liverpool appoint Arne Slot as new head coach to replace Jurgen Klopp


Liverpool appoint Arne Slot as new head coach to replace Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool have announced the appointment of Arne Slot as their new head coach on a three-year contract.

The Dutchman will officially take over from Jurgen Klopp on June 1 following his departure from Feyenoord.

A compensation package of around €11million (£9.4m) was agreed between the clubs last month with Slot set to bring assistant coach Sipke Hulshoff and head of performance Ruben Peeters with him to Merseyside.

Slot confirmed prior to Feyenoord’s final game of the season against Excelsior that he would be taking over at Liverpool and then Klopp led a chant of his successor’s name following Sunday’s emotional farewell at Anfield as he urged fans to get behind the new boss.

The 45-year-old emerged as Liverpool’s preferred candidate following an extensive search led by Fenway Sports Group’s CEO of football Michael Edwards and new sporting director Richard Hughes after Klopp announced in January that he would be stepping down at the end of the season.

All you need to know about Arne Slot

Liverpool’s process of due diligence included sophisticated data analysis, character research and performance evaluation. Through his work at AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord, Slot has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative coaches in Europe.

They believe he has over-performed given the resources available to him having led Feyenoord to their second league title this century and their first European final since 2002 — showcasing an ability to develop talent and bring the best out of players to achieve objectives which had previously been out of reach.

His dynamic, high-energy, possession-based brand of attacking football and tactical approach also counted in his favour as Liverpool believe it will perfectly suit the squad he will inherit at Anfield and will energise the fanbase.

Liverpool regard Slot as having excellent communication skills and his eagerness to take on the sizeable challenge of following in Klopp’s footsteps also impressed senior club figures.

Xabi Alonso — before he announced he is to remain at Bayer Leverkusen for next season — and Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim were among the other candidates Liverpool considered to replace Klopp before they settled on Slot.

Slot won the Dutch title with Feyenoord last season and held talks with Tottenham Hotspur over their vacant head coach role last summer, before opting to stay.

His Feyenoord side ended the 2023-24 Dutch season second in the Eredivisie, seven points behind champions PSV Eindhoven.

What is Slot’s style of play?

Analysis from Mark Carey and Charlie Eccleshare

Slot knows little else but to play on the front foot, whoever the opponent may be.

The Dutchman commonly sets up with a 4-2-3-1 formation in possession, using a midfield double pivot to progress centrally through the first line of pressure, with a No 10, two wingers and a central striker.

Unsurprisingly, Pep Guardiola and Roberto De Zerbi are among the managers he is most inspired by, but Slot is also known to admire Marcelo Bielsa, Jorge Sampaoli, Klopp, Luciano Spaletti and Mikel Arteta.

He has also shared ideas with former Liverpool assistant coach and fellow Dutchman Pep Lijnders, who is leaving to be Red Bull Salzburg head coach.

Slot would frequently show his players clips of Manchester City and Brighton to show them how he wanted to play.

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Slot won the 2022-23 Eredivisie title (Maurice Van Steen/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Slot’s Liverpool to-do list

Analysis by Andy Jones

Will his 4-2-3-1 system work?

The squad Slot is inheriting is packed with exciting, young talent alongside world-class experience. The Dutchman’s style holds similarities to Klopp, but there are differences, beginning with the formation.

Liverpool’s transfer business in recent seasons has focused on signing versatile players so most of the team he is inheriting are not wedded to a specific role that can only be played in Klopp’s preferred 4-3-3.

The likes of Cody Gakpo, Dominik Szoboszlai, Harvey Elliott and Ryan Gravenberch could all slot into the No 10 role Slot likes, for example.

Tactically, Slot’s challenge is to make Liverpool more structured and solid to prevent goals being conceded after a lack of clean sheets played a role in the disappointing end to the season. More composure and conviction in attacking areas is another area to improve, too.

Alexander-Arnold’s position

Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of Liverpool’s crown jewels but whether staying at right-back or moving into midfield suited him best has long been a discussion.

The problem was partially solved with the inverted full-back role but since his return from injury it has not been used as often or been significantly effective.

Slot likes to use inverted full-backs, but he also wants either his winger or full-back to provide width on one side.

Alternatively, if Slot sticks with the 4-2-3-1 system, a double pivot midfield could be the ideal way to move Alexander-Arnold inside and give him more structured influence in attacking build-up.

Is Nunez good enough?

For the second successive campaign, Darwin Nunez is ending the season on the bench and out of form. The old question marks, largely around his finishing, have re-emerged in recent months after periods of the season where he was Liverpool’s key man.

Slot has to decide whether he can be the man to turn Nunez into the ice-cool finisher Liverpool hoped they were buying two summers ago. Firstly, restoring his confidence will be crucial with the striker clearly unhappy with his current form and lack of impact.

All the tools are there, so can the new manager fit the pieces together and get Nunez to click in front of goal and become a consistent finisher? The underlying numbers are all positive, but the key statistics have room to improve.

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Nunez is yet to show his best at Anfield (Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

What is Salah’s role?

Slot prefers wingers who are strong ball carriers and have a high success rate at take-ons. That is an area that has been diminishing in Mohamed Salah’s game for some time.

In recent months the Egyptian has looked human and while his goal and assist numbers remain excellent, his all-round game has dropped below his high standards.

Slot may continue with Salah out wide, or does recent form dictate a role chance for the 32-year-old into a No 9, getting him closer to goal and simplifying his role?

Is Konate reliable enough?

It is a testament to Jarell Quansah’s performances that he rose above Konate in the pecking order to end the season as first choice alongside Virgil van Dijk.

However, Konate’s form is concerning. The French defender has lost confidence in his own game, particularly in possession, with teams comfortable for him to have the ball because of his limited passing range.

Slot wants ball-playing centre-backs as they form a key part of the initial build-up phase. With Joel Matip already departing, a centre-back should be on Liverpool’s shopping list, and whether the new manager is able to help Konate re-find his confidence and improve on the ball may dictate if another is needed.

(Top photo: Maurice Van Steen/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

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