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Slot: Big shoes to fill at Liverpool after Klopp


New Liverpool head coach Arne Slot admits he has “big shoes to fill” succeeding Jurgen Klopp but said winning matches would be the best way to start.

Slot has the unenviable task of following nine seasons of success under the popular German, who won the club’s first Premier League title in 30 years and reached three Champions League finals, winning one.

Klopp’s affinity with supporters was also a major factor during his reign and Slot said that was something he would have to develop – but success on the pitch would help.

Jurgen Klopp and Arne Slot
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Arne Slot was full of praise for Klopp’s tenure at Liverpool

“They are big shoes to fill but you can look at it as inheriting a squad and a team which has a winning culture,” he said at his first press conference.

“One of the reasons to come here – and there are always more reasons for this – but I do feel we have a real good squad, and as a manager you want to work at a club with good players with an opportunity to win something.

“The past has shown there is a possibility to win some trophies. I like to work with players and like to develop them but I like to win as well, and at this club there is an opportunity to win.

“It always helps to get to know the city but I think, as a manager, it helps even more if you win most of your games.

“If we do that in the best possible way it will probably give me some time as well, and if I have time then I can get to know the city a bit better. But it all starts with improving the team and winning as many games as we can.”

Slot: Klopp was more than the ‘normal one’

Slot asked about Klopp introducing himself as the ‘normal one’ at his first Liverpool press conference:

“It’s special what Jurgen did to this club. When he arrived, he said he was the ‘normal one’ but what made him special was the impression he left behind, winning trophies and his playing style – the fans loved it.

“Maybe he said he was the normal one but I think the fans saw him differently. What he did for the club was more than normal.”

Slot calm over transfers – ‘We’ve inherited a good team’

A change in the football structure at the club means the former Feyenoord boss is the first head coach in Liverpool’s history and he will work closely with their new sporting director Richard Hughes, who sat alongside him at the press conference.

Transfers will be the most significant area where the two need to be aligned but the Dutchman does not see it being an issue as he is used to working within similar set-ups.

“For me it is not a change, in Europe we work like this and I’ve worked at Feyenoord and my former clubs like this,” he added.

“There are not many clubs in the world where one person decides everything. It is a collaboration between many people.

“I don’t think there are many sporting directors who bring in players the manager or head coach doesn’t like and it is the other way around.”

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Liverpool manager Arne Slot was very impressed by the young talent shown at Anfield last season

Both Slot and Hughes spoke of the quality of the squad with which they were working but also of the need to make improvements.

However, the head coach would not specify where he wants to strengthen.

“Not in specific numbers. There is already a real good team, there were a few new signings last season,” he said.

“So the longer a team plays together if there is a good head coach normally you will see things will improve.

“It is fortunate I am going to a club where normally not many transfers go out. At Feyenoord it was almost normal (that) eight, nine, 10 players left the club after every season so it is more difficult for a manager to get this progress.

“But here I am expecting him (Hughes) to keep most of our players and I think he wants that himself and from there we can only build.”

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Liverpool footballer and Alpine investor Trent Alexander-Arnold discusses his excitement for the Monaco GP, England’s hopes for Euro 2024 and a new era at Anfield

Hughes: We’ll be ‘opportunistic’ in transfer market

The emphasis on Hughes is to secure the futures of captain Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold as all have entered the final 12 months of their contracts.

“Contractual situations I don’t think it would be fair for me to talk about, these are private matters between club and players,” said Hughes.

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On Back Pages Tonight, Miguel Delaney and Henry Winter discuss Liverpool’s new head coach appointment Arne Slot

“The only concern I and Arne have about these situations is total commitment from the players to the cause for next season and we are absolutely convinced that will be the case.”

On transfers, he added: “We need to improve, we need to improve on the training pitch and with the window open we will always be opportunistic if we can, if we can improve certain areas as we go we will look to do that.”

Hughes: Slot’s style suits Liverpool players

Richard Hughes on criteria used to appoint Slot:

“That playing style that attracted us to Arne is based on subjective footballing opinion and data, as you would expect.

“In all the metrics, Arne’s Feyenoord team came out really well, playing front-foot, attacking football, with intelligence and passion.

“It think it blends really well with our current squad, our supporters and football club as a whole.

“It depends on the players you have and the players you would like to recruit. This style of playing that Arne has is the most attractive to watch, in my opinion.

“I believe it will be so in the opinion of the fans and that is the most important thing.

“There is a duty here to play that kind of football and grab games by the scruff of the neck.

“It’s not going to be a hugely different style to what has been successful in the past. We hope to emulate that.”

The making of Arne Slot: Why he is right for Liverpool

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Liverpool have confirmed Arne Slot as Jurgen Klopp’s successor, but why have the Reds gone for the Dutchman?

Slot replaced Klopp as Liverpool manager – but who is the man the club believe can lead them into this new era and what can they expect from this 45-year-old Dutch coach?

In conversation with those who coached Slot and those who have been coached by him, as well as colleagues on his staff, we examine the making of Liverpool’s manager, exploring his tactical ideas, his man-management and his handling of the media.

Read Adam Bate’s feature here…

Liverpool fixtures: Reds start with trip to Ipswich

Slot kicks off his Liverpool reign with a lunchtime trip to newly-promoted Ipswich Town on the opening Saturday of the 2024/25 Premier League season.

The Dutchman will then come up against compatriot Erik ten Hag when Liverpool take on arch-rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in just his third game in charge of the club with the game currently scheduled for Saturday August 31.

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Liverpool footballer and Alpine investor Trent Alexander-Arnold discusses his excitement for the Monaco GP, England’s hopes for Euro 2024 and a new era at Anfield

Liverpool’s first six 2024/25 Premier League fixtures

All fixtures subject to change.

August

17: Ipswich (a) – Kick-off 12.30pm

24: Brentford (h)

31: Manchester United (a)

September

14: Nottingham Forest (h)

21: Bournemouth (h)

28: Wolves (a)

Liverpool have easiest start

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On Back Pages Tonight, Miguel Delaney and Henry Winter discuss Liverpool’s new head coach appointment Arne Slot

Analysis by Sky Sports Data Analyst Adam Smith:

Liverpool have the easiest opening six Premier League fixtures on paper, according to the average position of opponents’ league positions last season.

The Reds’ upcoming average league opponent ranked only 14.8 in the standings last term.



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