How Will Arne Slot in at Anfield?
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How Will Arne Slot in at Anfield?

24/05/24 13:23

When Jurgen Klopp unexpectedly broke out into a chorus of “Arne Slot” on Sunday afternoon, it was clear that the baton had been passed at Anfield. The impact of the Germans departure at Liverpool, will produce numerous challenges for all involved with the Merseysiders.

So who exactly is Arne Slot? Prior to speculation surrounding the Dutchman taking the helm, this has been the question on many Kopites lips. Many had envisaged that Klopp would be at Anfield for at least another few seasons, given the contract extension he had signed until 2026. The task faced by the Anfield hierarchy in sourcing a successor for the charismatic German, will have been planned with meticulous detail.

Arne Slot Title

There have been comparisons drawn between the departures of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jurgen Klopp. The media like to dub it to something akin to a ‘poisoned chalice’. A decade has passed since the Premier League title was lifted at Old Trafford – Fergie managed 6 titles in the 10 years prior to his departure. There is hope amongst rival supporters that a similar gap will appear in the Anfield trophy cabinet. However, the Dutchman will be hoping to bring home some silverware to Anfield in the not too distant future.

Slot enjoyed a relatively fruitful playing career, turning out for clubs such as FC Zwolle and Sparta Rotterdam. A goalscoring midfielder, he amassed an impressive haul of 100 goals in 462 career appearances. His first managerial berth came at Cambuur, where he narrowly missed out on promotion to the Eredivisie, finishing 3rd and consequently being defeated in the Play Offs. His stock continued to rise within Holland after a semi final win over Ajax, and then a narrow defeat to AZ Alkmaar in the final of the KNVB Cup.

A spell with AZ Alkmaar followed, who Slot led to respectable 3rd & 4th finishes, as well as falling at the final hurdle in the KNVB Cup final to Feyenoord. Further notable success followed, Covid -19 resulted in the league being postponed with Slot leading the charge for the title. Feyenoord came calling, and an acrimonious exit from AZ ensued.

Arne Slot Sidelines

And so to Feyenoord. When slot arrived at De Kuip, he probably did not realise he would become Klopp’s successor. Klopp had just ended Liverpool’s long wait for a Premier League Title and looked destined to stay at Anfield for many years to come. A successful first year in charge yielded a Europa League Conference final loss to Roma. A Klopp like record in semi finals, leading to final losses seemed to be a theme running through Slot’s teams. A 7-1 win over Shaktar was a highlight at a time when European Football was sitting up and starting to take notice of Slot. MEanwhile, perhaps his most notable success came by ending the 6 year wait for the Eredivisie title in 2023. This achievement cemented his place in the hearts of the feyenoord supporters, who grew to be fond of his incessant pressing style football which is something of a mainstay in his tactical nous.

An underwhelming final season in European terms, led to a Champions league exit after heightened expectations. However, Slot led the team to the KNVB cup, finally putting to bed a pattern of lost finals. By this time Slot had instilled himself as a number 1 target on Merseyside in light of Klopp’s shock announcement he was leaving Liverpool. He was officially announced as Liverpool Manager on 20th May, to start on 1st June. Incidentally, 1st June was the date of Liverool’s most recent European Cup win in Madrid, hopefully an omen for Slot.

Both Liverpool fans and the premier league have been treated to ‘Heavy metal football’ during Klops reign. The revolutionary style has its plaudits and there will be an urge for a similar style approach from the get go. Slot regularly employs a 4-2-3-1 system, which moulds itself into a 4-4-2 if required. There is impetus on a high press setting the trend for an intense brand of football. There are certainly several comparisons which can be drawn to the Klopp system. With a plethora of talent at his disposal, expect to see Virgil Van Dijk and Jarell Quansah deployed in a double pivot with inverted full backs. It will be interesting to see how Slot intends to mould Trent Alexander-Arnold into his system. As a self confessed control freak, there is no doubt that he will be looking to implement an exciting brand of football in his maiden season in English football.

His uncompromising style and matter of fact answers in press conferences may not endear him to many journalists in the way Klopp did. They will be reminded, however, that this is not Jurgen Klopp. This is Arne Slot, the new guy on the block. His tenure at Anfield will be quite rightly judged on what he can add to an already congested trophy cabinet.

Slot can be under no illusions. This is a huge job. Anfield is a cathedral of football. The Kop demands success, silverware, and above all, a manager they can resonate with. Given that his predecessor ticked all three of those boxes, he must rise to the task .Despite Kopites unique ability to get behind a manager and be more patient than others, the sense of expectation is strong at Anfield. We will see if he proves a hit, or if the burden of an expectant Kop is too much to handle.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Alex Jones

Writer

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