Liverpool job ‘difficult to ignore’ – Slot

Arne SlotGetty Images

Arne Slot says the opportunity to work at one of the “biggest clubs in the world” was “difficult to ignore” as he was confirmed as Liverpool’s new head coach.

The Reds agreed a compensation deal worth £9.4m with Feyenoord in April after the 45-year-old was identified as the man to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

Klopp, who had been in charge of Liverpool since October 2015, left the club following their season-finale win against Wolves on Sunday.

After the game, the 56-year-old German called on Liverpool fans to get behind their new boss, chanting “Arne Slot, na na na na na”.

Slot’s three-year contract at Liverpool will officially start on 1 June, subject to a work permit.

“It is certainly not an easy decision to close the door behind you at a club where you have experienced so many wonderful moments and worked successfully with so many wonderful people,” Slot told Feyenoord’s club website.

“But as a sportsman, an opportunity to become a head coach in the Premier League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, is difficult to ignore.”

Following Liverpool’s announcement on Monday, Mohamed Salah appeared to suggest he would remain at Anfield next season.

“We know that trophies are what count and we will do everything possible to make that happen next season. Our fans deserve it and we will fight like hell,” the 31-year-old posted on X.

Liverpool rejected a £150m offer from Al-Ittihad for Salah last summer, but the Saudi Pro League’s director of football Michael Emenalo later said the door was not closed to the Egypt winger.

Dutchman Slot led Feyenoord to the 2022-23 Eredivisie title, while this season they have won the Dutch Cup and finished second in the league.

The club’s general manager Dennis te Kloese said: “At Feyenoord you don’t like to let go of a trainer who has meant as much to the club as Arne.

“At the same time, we understand very well that working at a club like Liverpool is a special and unique opportunity for him. With that in mind, we started the conversation to see if we could find a solution together, and in the end we succeeded.”

It is believed that the attacking style of Slot’s teams, his personality and his ability to develop players were key factors in making him Liverpool’s top choice for the job.

Slot took over as Feyenoord manager in 2021 and confirmed his interest in managing in the Premier League when he was linked with Tottenham in 2023.

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, who guided Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title this season, was also linked with the position at Anfield.

But the 42-year-old Spaniard ended speculation in March when he said he would remain with Leverkusen for the time being.

Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Amorim was also reported to have been a contender to take over from Klopp, who announced in January he would leave Anfield at the end of the 2023-24 campaign.

Slot’s route to Liverpool

A former midfielder, Slot spent his entire playing career in the Netherlands, making more than 100 appearances for both FC Zwolle and NAC Breda.

After retiring from playing, he began his coaching career as a youth coach at PEC Zwolle before moving to SC Cambuur to become an assistant manager.

He moved to AZ Alkmaar in 2017 and stepped up to become manager two years later. In his first season in charge, they were second, level on points with leaders Ajax, when the Covid-19 pandemic brought the season to a premature end.

He was sacked in December 2020 when it emerged that he had been negotiating with Feyenoord.

Slot took charge of Feyenoord in the summer of 2021 and won the Eredivisie with the club in 2022-23 and triumphed in the Dutch Cup this season.

‘Slot has hard act to follow’

Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport

The Slot era will officially start on 1 June and he will arrive after a thorough recruitment process held by the Reds.

Liverpool’s research, which included looking at data and character among other markers, resulted in Slot emerging as their preferred candidate.

His record with Alkmaar and Feyenoord pointed to a manager able to over-perform compared with the resources at his disposal, an impressive record for developing players and a style of football Liverpool think suits their squad.

Klopp was renowned for his ‘heavy metal’ game and the Reds believe Slot will bring a dynamic, high energy and possession based football to the club.

He has also been given the title of head coach rather than manager in a move that the Anfield club believe reflects the modern game and works better from a structural perspective.

Slot has a hard act to follow in Klopp and we will find out next season if the data matches up with results and performances on the pitch.

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