With the Arne Slot era now officially underway at Liverpool, here are 5 of his most pressing matters to sort through…


THE mural paint is only just dry, the hangover barely subsided but the transition of feeling from the past to the future remains unsettling in its purgatorial state of limbo. We await Arne Slot like ‘a woman who waits for her man in jail’ to coin his predecessor. 

Down time is needed for everyone, we forget this. Patience in this sense is very much a virtue as we await the first look at Liverpool’s new boss. First impressions are important. Vibes have validity before any ball is kicked. But people need a holiday, and as sad as it remains, we all need to forget the last fella to a certain degree (still buy the book!).

Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool was a marriage so perfectly constructed you need time to decompress. Football doesn’t deal well with happy ever afters. It is a constant metamorphosis cocktailed with the groundhog nature of Rust Cohles ‘time is a flat-circle’ thesis. Everything is repeated. Everything is once again new for Liverpool Football Club. Whilst Slot’s poker face needs work, the former Feyenoord managers enthusiasm has been amenable, dare it be said, commendable.The likelihood is he’s already hard at work in his new role.  

The handover has been done. The Klopp-bobble-head and normal onemug have been removed from the desk. We await the first look at our collective future, and there are issues at hand which need addressing. Here’s five things already in Slot’s in-tray:

Trent Alexander-Arnolds future

On and off the pitch, this is a key issue for Liverpools hierarchy. Slot has very much been brought in to manage and coach the team, hopefully less in the Rafael Benitez vs Tom Hicks mould. While it is widely hoped the vice-captain commits his future to the club for what will be his peak years, Slot has a decision to make on which position on the pitch he will occupy.

Weve now had around 12 months of the right-back inverting into central areas to bolster Liverpools midfield capabilities and look to orchestrate from more advanced positions. On the face of things, the tactical tweak has worked. StatsBomb shows Alexander-Arnold’s metrics for open play xG (expected goals) assisted are up from 90th percentile to 97th. While his dribble and carry OBV (on ball value) has gone from 15th percentile to 43rd.

He will likely represent England at Euro 2024 in an advanced midfield position and you get the feeling he would leap at any opportunity to transition permanently into a central midfielder.

You can also understand why. Klopps physical and tactical demands often leave players feeling they need to occupy two, even three positions in a game. This has been particularly notable for Alexander-Arnold, who’s exposure positionally has become the centrepiece of attention around questions relating to Liverpool’s defensive frailty. 

This will be one of Slots biggest calls: does he stick with an orthodox method already in place or finally release and remake one of world footballs biggest talents?

To 4-3-3 or not to 4-3-3

The Alexander-Arnold question leads into the Dutchmans next big call, which is whether to replicate Klopps 4-3-3 system with a single pivot defensive midfielder, or sixas the outgoing Redsboss refers to it, or to flip the midfield triangle and implement two deep-lying midfielders as he did to such great effect at Feyenoord with Mats Wieffer and Quinten Timber. If moving central may beatify Alexander-Arnold, it might also provide the perfect opportunity for Slot to use him and a mixture of Alexis Mac Allister and Wataru Endo at the base of operations for his team to flourish. 

Slot’s tactical approach can look more of a conventional 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-1-3, which begs the question of who occupies the sole advanced midfielder position. Curtis Jones and Dominik Szobozslai’s form dropped in-line with injuries in the second half of the campaign. Ryan Gravenberch still feels like a project for any manager. Harvey Elliott’s development has been an undoubted positive, but he remains a player who looks more comfortable operating in wider midfield areas. 

At their best under Klopp, Liverpool employed Fabinho as a single deep-lying midfield destroyer – their ‘lighthouse’ as assistant Pepijn Lijnders referred to him. You feel to do the same again, Liverpool would have to go back into the market and go big. There’s a lot for Slot to consider when contemplating how to set up his new team, but ultimately you get the feeling he will be guided most by his own principles and how he views the challenge of Premier League football.

A message to fans, the media and PGMOL

Klopp’s first Liverpool press conference was littered with promises and proclamations which had the club’s supporters eating out of his hand. One of the forgotten segments was the challenge he laid down to the English press pack squeezed inside Anfield’s makeshift press conference room that day, which was to ‘prove wrong’ the negative reputation he had been forewarned about them.

It’s fair to say that while Klopp was generally amenable and bristling with energy, some of his more contemptuous characteristics would show in press conferences and around fourth officials. Whether fans like it or not, having a relationship with officials and journalists which doesn’t burn any bridges it passes undoubtedly helps everyone. 

Slot’s reputation is one of an incredibly measured person and coach, one who doesn’t lose his temper easily. While matters like officiating will always be contentious, especially with the added entanglement of VAR application, coming in peace as opposed to Klopp’s occasional confrontation might be a welcome change to some.

Make Liverpool more efficient

OK, so we know there was a perception that Liverpoool’s ‘misfiring’ forwards ultimately halted their title challenge. That Darwin Núñez deleted Liverpoool related social media posts, or that Klopp and Mohamed Salah had a bit of a touchline spat at West Ham. But how lacking are Liverpool in clinical proficiency, and is it a problem for Slot? 

According to StatsBomb, the Reds ranked in the 90th percentile for all attacking metrics in the 2023/24 season apart from xG per shot, which only managed to reach 64th percentile, which equated to a rate of 0.10 goals per 90 minutes. To go deeper, Understat shows Liverpool are at their least efficient in terms of shot conversion from inside the penalty box (they are underperforming xG by nearly 12 goals) and when a game state is drawing (almost 10 goals). Núñez is the main culprit in terms of xG, with a league underperformance of around 8.05 goals on his tally of 11. 

What would also help Slot and Liverpool hugely is if they could stop needlessly going behind in matches to make life harder for themselves. Klopp’s side claimed 31 points from losing positions in 2023/24, however towards the end of the campaign, when the margins tightened, they couldn’t pull the same rabbit out of the hat.

How does Arne Slot solve this? The obvious answer might be the transfer market, with more questions over Núñez and the likes of Ibrahima Konate’s future than before. Despite the headlines, Salah remains incredibly consistent with his output and registered another 25 goals and 14 assists in a season many viewed as his worst for the club.

There is something else which Klopp heavily alluded to in his final weeks, which is the concept of mental and physical fatigue. It remains notable that no English side reached the final of any European competition, despite its league being viewed as far superior to most across Europe. 

What’s more, players such as Manchester City’s Rodri are openly voicing their concern about burnout and the amount of games they’re being asked to play.

The 2022/23 season set a new record of 1,084 goals scored across a 38 game season in the Premier League. That record had been smashed by the 1,246 goals scored in 2023/24. 

We can argue English football has never been as entertaining, but another way to view it is that the product is being diluted by ramming quantity over quality. And that players’ mental and physical output is leading to less concentrated football. It’s an issue for every coach in the league, and is about to become one for Arne Slot. 


In Klopp, Liverpool had the most quotable, passionate and reasoned voice in charge of the club since Bill Shankly. Slot’s biggest mistake would be to try and mirror this. To step into the family household as the uncool new dad and try to imitate old dad. Slot simply needs to be himself and let his football do a lot of the talking. 

Brendan Rodgers came into Liverpool with the CV of a promising and developing coach, but snippets of his man-management left you with a sense he was more The Office than Gladiator when it came to rallying his players and supporters. 

Klopp gave birth to a new generation of success and purpose for Liverpool supporters. The affinity and bond shared between them shouldn’t try to be infringed or imposed on. There’s no feeling Slot will do this, thankfully, and therefore the only remnants of the German’s personality will live through sycophantic managers plagiarising his fist-pumps to an adoring crowd who will pretend it is a completely authentic and new concept. 

The hope for everyone at Liverpool is that Slot can be the Bob Paisley to Klopp’s Shankly. If the one lingering sadness is that Liverpool were denied the silverware they deserved under Klopp, Slot’s greatest way of forging an affinity with a stadium which remains one of the most reasonable in football is to show straight away he means business when it comes to delivering the biggest honours. 

If he can do that, it will lay claim to a whole new love affair which will leave Liverpool feeling fine. 


Buy Dan Morgan’s book ‘Jürgen Said To Me’ on Klopp, Liverpool and the remaking of a city…

Jürgen Said to Me: Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool and the Remaking of a City

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