After the news that Liverpool are reportedly after Arne Slot, can a moneyball manager be a successful successor to Jurgen Klopp?


ARNE Slot hasn’t exactly been unclear about his intentions.

There are many of us who will adopt the position of Feyenoord supporters and wince at his brashness about wanting to become Liverpool manager.

The counter argument is that in a world where replacing Jurgen Klopp is one of the hardest tasks in football, Slot’s certainty and conviction is a welcome relief from the seemingly conservative decision from Xabi Alonso to stay put.

It’s hard to argue the job of replacing Klopp hasn’t been made ever-so-slightly easier by Liverpool’s relinquishment of further trophies this season.

We will adopt recency bias, to this extent, however it won’t extend when reflecting on Klopp’s tenure when the time eventually comes.

The reactions remain strong to Liverpool’s current unravelling. In some quarters they are completely unhinged.

Nobody will remember how this season eventually finished when reflecting on Klopp’s time. If you feel differently, remind me who knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League in 2012/13, again?

That said, the derby was unacceptable. It was up there with the worst performances under the German. Under no circumstances do you walk into Everton away in first gear.

These players have, in my opinion, built up enough credit this season. They’ve shown themselves to be capable in the face of many challenges.

They might be enduring the worst hangover you’ve ever felt – come downs aplenty – but there should be lots to build on with this squad.

A lot of the hypothesis around choosing Slot seems to stem from matching playing styles. Advancing full-backs, high-intensity and a three-forward approach suggests the club are not looking to move far away from current strategy.

The biggest difference will of course be the personality of manager. It will require the most amount of retraining and patience.

In every sense, Slot will not be Klopp. He won’t offer you life guidance along with managing your football team. He won’t speak on social and cultural matters. He won’t turn around and bollock the Main Stand if he feels they’re being entitled.

We can’t expect him to. Yet the pin of expectancy will be placed in different places depending on who you are. At the very least, we can expect a team with a third-place finish and a domestic cup to aim for around the same again next season. Or perhaps that’s unfair?

The key will be that we believe in him and them. We’re all now left wondering whether this entire thing is made up by unique, generational figures as efficacious as Klopp.

To that end, you wonder how much you can ever Moneyball a manager or head coach.

Brendan Rodgers had all the hallmarks of a young, talented coach with an attractive philosophy. Yet he was incredibly aloof from a lot of the emotional connection supporters sought.

Rodgers could protrude an image of the How to Win Friends and Influence People manager to an external eye. He was also more divisive internally than many had perhaps expected.

There was always a longing for Shanklyism in a modern form, and Klopp gave us that in spade loads. We could believe in him because he was, and still is, the perfect embodiment of Liverpool FC.

The first task for Slot, or whoever it is, will be to convince through results. The second will be to impose themselves in their own way on this place and its people.

It seems like Liverpool have made their choice. It was always going to bold. It was always going to be led by data.

The biggest shoes to fill, but Arne Slot seemingly isn’t shy about stating his intentions.


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