What Liverpool can expect from Slot: Attacking football, intensity and player development-ZoomTech News

What Liverpool can expect from Slot: Attacking football, intensity and player development-ZoomTech News

Arne Slot acquired the seal of approval from Jurgen Klopp even earlier than his transfer to Liverpool was confirmed. When information broke of the Reds’ superior curiosity within the Feyenoord head coach on April 23, issues moved shortly. Slot admitted two days later he was eager on the transfer, and by April 26, Klopp was telling Slot he was “getting one of the best job on the planet.”

In the meantime, pundits in all places instantly started weighing his possibilities of success even earlier than he’d signed the contract, not to mention stepped foot in Anfield. Welcome to the Premier League, Arne — and all this was occurring whereas Slot was guiding Feyenoord by way of their last matches of their 2023-24 season.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)

Slot, 45, will swap De Kuip for The Kop this summer season, getting into the massive void left by Klopp, who remodeled the membership and leaves as a bona fide Liverpool legend. It is an intimidating process — Slot is technically taking a brand new position as head coach, slightly than supervisor — however these near Slot are united in saying he will not be daunted by the expectation or strain. If something, he’ll smile within the face of it.

“He deserves this,” former Ajax and PSV Eindhoven participant Kenneth Perez informed ESPN. “He is top-of-the-line Dutch coaches we have had in a protracted, very long time.”

‘He is not aggressive, however he’s a optimistic individual’

In terms of Slot’s taking part in profession, he was a steady, stable Eredivisie participant: dependable and technical in superior midfield, however not the kind who was catching the attention of Champions League groups. “You might see he was an clever participant,” remembers ex-Morocco striker Ali Boussaboun, who performed alongside Slot at NAC Breda from 2002 to 2005. “He wasn’t aggressive and wasn’t overly vocal, or quiet. At any time when he did discuss, although, it was normally about ways.”

Slot performed for NAC Breda from 2002 to 2007, Sparta Rotterdam for 2 seasons and completed up at PEC Zwolle. Within the 2002-03 season, the NAC Breda facet fielded each Slot and Alfred Schreuder, who would later handle Membership Brugge and Ajax amongst others. “You might inform they had been each going to be managers,” Boussaboun mentioned.

Slot saved his head down, working as onerous as he might and taking part in to the bounds of his capability. All of the whereas he was studying — a sort of footballing magpie stockpiling concepts, drills and ideas for his post-playing life.

“I imply this in a optimistic approach, however exterior of soccer, he lives a quiet life,” Boussaboun mentioned. “He would not come from a giant metropolis, and he is not a flamboyant individual. That fits Arne as a result of it isn’t the individual he needs to be or is. He is an important father, husband, teammate: he is not aggressive, however he is a optimistic individual.”

Slot took that optimistic mindset into administration. He labored as a youth coach at PEC Zwolle after retiring in 2013, then becoming a member of SC Cambuur in 2014, the place he was an assistant earlier than progressing as much as caretaker supervisor for a lot of the 2016-17 season. There he fine-tuned his administration philosophy, establishing his fashion as unapologetically attacking and aggressive, whereas prioritising health above all else.

“[Slot is] very detail-oriented and he needs to play attacking soccer,” former Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar informed ESPN. “If you lose the ball, he needs to get it again right away. So excessive strain, excessive on the pitch, an aggressive defence, and attacking soccer, however with good concepts. He loves to make use of his full-backs, getting them each to overlap and underlap. So slightly than seeing what occurs, he needs to take management of a match and has actually robust concepts.”

Boussaboun mentioned Slot additionally needs to start out the buildup for any transfer with the goalkeeper, and “preserve the ball … taking part in with three up entrance, with fast wingers.” In spite of everything, the brand new Liverpool boss has spoken beforehand of his admiration for Pep Guardiola and his Barcelona staff.

“He provides me the last word pleasure in soccer,” Slot mentioned of Guardiola to Voetbal Worldwide in 2023. “I definitely do not need to examine myself to Pep, however he’s a management freak like me.” One in all his teaching contemporaries mentioned Slot additionally admires Mikel Arteta, Marcelo Bielsa, Jorge Sampaoli and Luciano Spalletti.



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Slot was affected person in his teaching journey: after a style of the job with Cambuur, he was picked up by AZ Alkmaar in 2017 as assistant coach to John van den Brom and finally took the highest job in 2019.

“Prime gamers get the prospect to handle a high staff shortly, however he needed to work onerous to get there,” Perez mentioned. “He was a good participant, however not a high participant. So he needed to work his approach up, and there is nothing mistaken with that as a result of you’ll be taught much more additionally out of your errors and you are able to do that on a decrease degree.”

In Slot’s debut season with AZ, he secured wins over Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax. On the coronary heart of his defence was Vlaar, the previous Aston Villa centre-back who performed the ultimate six seasons of his profession at his boyhood membership.

“I feel we performed one of the best soccer at AZ beneath him when he was the coach,” Vlaar mentioned. “I feel we by no means performed higher than that and we had been all very match. We educated onerous, however he was clear in regards to the issues he needed to see in coaching. He additionally informed us upfront ‘OK, this isn’t going to be a pleasant train, however now we have to do it to develop.’ We gave every part each time. I feel we had been the fittest staff that season.”

One facet of Slot’s persona that is stayed with Vlaar is how calm he could be no matter how the staff had been performing. “For instance, once we had a foul end result, he mentioned, ‘OK, we had some objectives, however this a part of the efficiency is sweet, this is not.’ I do not bear in mind if I’ve seen him offended.”

But Slot was additionally unrelenting in his expectations. After a 0-0 draw with Manchester United within the 2019-20 Europa League, the AZ dressing room was a scene of jubilation at having taken some extent off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s facet. However Slot noticed issues in a different way.

“He mentioned ‘yeah, that is good, but when we need to undergo to the subsequent spherical, we additionally must win some video games,'” Vlaar mentioned. “He was at all times sharp in how he selected his phrases, however I actually favored that since you can’t lean again and be proud of a draw, even when it is in opposition to the highest staff. He at all times knew find out how to inspire us for the subsequent recreation.”

The 2019-20 season was curtailed resulting from COVID-19, however on the time it was halted, AZ had been second within the league on aim distinction, degree on factors with Ajax. “I imagine we might have received it,” Vlaar mentioned. “He was key to that entire season.”

‘He is excellent at exploiting any weaknesses’

AZ had been within the ascendancy beneath Slot, although issues modified abruptly halfway by way of the 2020-21 marketing campaign. Feyenoord had been on the lookout for a brand new supervisor, and sporting director Frank Arnesen discovered that Slot could possibly be an possibility by way of his agent, Mino Raiola. The 2 met in secret to speak about the potential of Slot taking up from Dick Advocaat, however particulars of the December assembly leaked to the media and AZ promptly sacked him. “We imagine individuals who work at AZ ought to have full concentrate on AZ,” technical director Max Huiberts mentioned on the time.

“It is a very strict membership,” Perez informed ESPN. “They’ve a sure approach of doing issues, and so they could not address Slot speaking with Feyenoord. I assume it is regular in soccer for gamers or managers to speak to totally different groups, however AZ is a unique breed. They do not settle for issues like this and pushed him out. I do not assume it is too dangerous what he did.”

When Slot took over Feyenoord forward of the 2021-22 season, they had been coming off a fifth-place end within the Eredivisie — a low place by their requirements — and had been clawing themselves out from a spell of monetary turmoil that noticed their star participant, Steven Berghuis, go away for his or her fierce rivals, Ajax.

Feyenoord had been additionally taking part in dire soccer. Their collective switch spend that summer season was solely €9.5 million, however Slot constructed a formidable staff that went on to complete third and reached the ultimate of the Europa Convention League, the place they misplaced 1-0 to Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma.

The next summer season noticed Feyenoord gutted within the switch market — high scorer Luis Sinisterra signed for Leeds United, Tyrell Malacia went to Manchester United, Marcos Senesi to AFC Bournemouth and Fredrik Aursnes joined Benfica for a collective charge of €69.3m, with a internet revenue of €59.5m. Simply 5 of the staff that misplaced to Roma had been there the next season, however working with Arnesen, Feyenoord and Slot introduced in Mexico worldwide Santiago Giménez, midfielder Quinten Timber, defender David Hancko (the membership’s document signing at €8.3m) and winger Igor Paixão. He managed to combine the brand new signings brilliantly whereas bettering the gamers they already had.

So what’s prefer to play a Slot-coached staff? One phrase involves thoughts: brutal.

As an opposition coach within the Eredivisie informed ESPN: “It’s extremely claustrophobic going through a staff managed by Arne. You at all times know you might be going through a really match staff that may chase you down and can battle till the final second, and they’ll have a tactical plan to make your life tough. He is excellent at exploiting any weaknesses.

“I bear in mind we did some evaluation on how he acquired his staff to play Marseille as soon as [in April 2022] and so they put collectively an excellent recreation plan. He performed very compact, together with his wingers far deeper, utilizing lengthy balls excessive having seen Marseille had been weak at defending that. And it labored: they received 3-2.”

“The gamers love him, in fact,” Perez mentioned. “You would be loopy to not love him as a result of he has put these gamers on the map. I feel these gamers aren’t distinctive, however he has made them excellent.

“I fear when these gamers go to [bigger] golf equipment — I feel they are going to discover it very tough as they will not have a coach like him. So I feel he has made these gamers from being like 6 of 10 to eight of 10.”

Discuss to these round Feyenoord and ask for an instance of how Slot has superior a participant, and so they all level to Turkish midfielder Orkun Kökcü, who’s now at Benfica, having left the membership in the summertime of 2023. “He was somewhat little bit of a ‘lazy’ No. 10, considering he already labored it out in soccer and Slot has made him a really match participant, an expert participant, and earned some huge cash for the membership and him,” Perez mentioned.

Feyenoord had received the Eredivisie in Kökcü’s last season, and as they clinched the title with a 3-0 victory over Go Forward Eagles he fell to the bottom, overwhelmed. It was Slot who picked him up. He was Slot’s captain, and when he collected the Participant of the Season award, it was Slot who handed him the award.

“It was like a match made in heaven,” Boussaboun mentioned. Solely later did Kökcü reveal not solely how Slot had improved him on the pitch, but additionally how he helped him away from soccer when he was affected by insomnia.

“It was resulting from a restoration shake I took that did not go down properly throughout Ramadan,” Kökcü informed Voetbal Worldwide. “I could not get to sleep, which precipitated loads of anxiousness. [Slot] was one of many few who knew about it. He’s greater than a coach and understands precisely find out how to cope with individuals. That is why I cried once I hugged him after the championship recreation.”

Final season, Feyenoord secured the KNVB Cup and completed second behind PSV, regardless of dropping solely two matches. Slot’s gamers at all times attracted loads of consideration from home and European rivals, however the largest golf equipment had been conserving a detailed eye on the person who’d masterminded their success as an alternative.

‘It isn’t straightforward to step into Klopp’s footwear, however any individual has to do it’

It was March 3, and Slot was fielding questions from the media after Feyenoord battled to a 2-2 draw at PSV. A journalist from German publication Kicker requested Slot what he considered being on Bayern Munich’s shortlist to interchange Thomas Tuchel, and whether or not he’d be eager to maneuver to the Bundesliga. As an alternative of a solution, he acquired the standard, an enthralling, well mannered retort of no remark combined with dedication to Feyenoord. “Yeah, he is a intelligent man,” Perez mentioned. “He is aware of find out how to play the media.”

Slot’s grow to be extra snug with such questions, having confronted them for the previous couple of seasons. He is had admirers within the Premier League earlier than Liverpool got here knocking. Leeds had been eager on him to interchange Jesse Marsch, however Slot needed to remain at Feyenoord.

“It was a praise a membership like Leeds was , however we’re doing one thing nice with Feyenoord,” Slot mentioned on the time. “There isn’t a disappointment. It is definitely not a punishment to remain right here.” Crystal Palace had been additionally reportedly eager on him after they dismissed Patrick Vieira, but it surely was Tottenham Hotspur who at one stage regarded like they had been going to tempt him to the Premier League.

That was in March 2023, and Tottenham had recognized Slot as a goal to interchange the sacked Antonio Conte. They had been additionally eager on recruiting Feyenoord’s normal supervisor, Dennis te Kloese, however each rejected approaches. “I’ve heard quite a bit in regards to the curiosity of different golf equipment in me,” Slot mentioned. “I’m grateful for the appreciation that expresses this, however my want is to remain at Feyenoord and proceed to construct on the inspiration laid over the previous two seasons.”

Slot signed a brand new contract tying him to Feyenoord by way of to the summer season of 2026, however when Klopp introduced he was leaving Liverpool and the Reds’ curiosity in Slot turned clear, he felt it was the appropriate transfer.

“It is no secret I need to go to Liverpool,” Slot informed ESPN Netherlands on April 25. “The golf equipment are negotiating. We have now to attend till an settlement is reached, however I’ve each confidence in that.”

Liverpool’s CEO of soccer Michael Edwards and incoming sporting director Richard Hughes noticed it as an ideal match: Slot performed attacking soccer, was fashionable together with his gamers, was snug utilizing knowledge to assist efficiency, related properly with Feyenoord’s followers, managed to enhance current gamers and labored properly to a finances. He additionally communicated together with his gamers at Feyenoord in English.

“I feel he is acquired a philosophy much like the philosophy of Liverpool,” Vlaar mentioned.

Having formally began as head coach Saturday, Slot joins Liverpool alongside together with his assistant Sipke Hulshoff, head of efficiency Ruben Peeters and analyst Etienne Reijnen. “How he builds the workers round him can be important to success,” a supply informed ESPN.

How will Slot deal with the highlight and strain as he turns into the tenth Dutch supervisor to take cost of a Premier League staff? “The Premier League is a unique ballgame, and you’ve got massive golf equipment with loads of information retailers,” Boussaboun mentioned. “Yeah, it is like going from Feyenoord to not 2.0 Feyenoord, however 5.0 Feyenoord. And the scrutiny is far totally different over there.”

Even earlier than he arrived, Liverpool legends had been questioning the appointment, with Jamie Carragher in his Daily Telegraph column calling it “intriguing slightly than thrilling,” and of venture.

“Slot could be an appointment made with the top slightly than the center,” he wrote. “Klopp’s enchantment was to the top and coronary heart. When Klopp joined in 2015 supporters had been grateful he selected the membership when he might have waited for any on the planet. If Slot arrives, he can be grateful Liverpool selected him and might want to justify the choice.”

When Slot joined Feyenoord, in his opening deal with to the press, he made clear what he stood for.

“Wherever you’re employed in soccer, there’s strain in all places and you need to carry out in all places,” Slot mentioned. “You’ve gotten stress in all places: will you get sufficient time? I perceive higher than anybody that individuals anticipate us to play a sure kind of soccer and for gamers to develop, however a very powerful factor is you win matches with Feyenoord. If that does not occur for too lengthy, you recognize what might occur.”

Substitute Feyenoord for Liverpool and you’ll think about him delivering an identical message when he’s unveiled at Anfield.

“He’ll handle the strain properly,” Perez mentioned. “It isn’t straightforward to step into Klopp’s footwear, however any individual has to do it. He’ll want a while to get adjusted to the actual fact each three, or 4 days you might have a giant match the place you get pushed to the restrict on a regular basis — even in opposition to the smaller groups in Holland, it is somewhat bit totally different.

“That is going to be a problem. Working with a squad of 25 excellent gamers is one other problem. However he can do it.”

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