Is Arne Slot A Good Fit For Liverpool?

Is Arne Slot A Good Fit For Liverpool?

I’ll be honest and say I hadn’t heard of Arne Slot prior to two days ago. But having learned his name, I figured I might as well learn a bit more while I am taking some time out from work.

Slot plays not too dissimilar to Jurgen Klopp in that he uses either 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1 with a counter pressing style. The midfield is different, but I’ll get to that.

One of the biggest issues with Gegenpressing is you get your opportunities from the opponent being in possession. They have the ball and you win it back close to their goal as their shape opens to try and attack.

Which is all well and good until you come across teams who don’t try to play through your press and just launch balls past your press onto fast players who break past your high line. Something which has happened to Klopp’s teams since the very beginning and still happens now (see Manchester United and Atalanta matches for recent examples).

The other issue is some teams don’t bother. They sit deep in large compact numbers and allow you to have the ball. Well, if your chances come from the opponent having the ball what do you do when they don’t?

This isn’t something which happens often in Germany. They don’t tend to be compact often at all and it’s a League where players get quite a bit of space. This is probably why Klopp realised early that the Gegenpress will only go so far in a League filled with teams who sit deep and compact and don’t want the ball.

Klopp relied on the individual brilliance of Salah, and Mane for a very long time and periods where we struggled was when one or both of those players were in poor form.

He has since moved the burden of creativity to the fullbacks, allowing Robbo and Trent to get forward since they’re both excellent passers (strange, he never bought a true no. 9 with this tactic as it’s tailor made for one).

Slot is very similar except his teams tend to have the ball a lot more and only use counter press to help keep the ball as opposed to create opportunities. In Slot’s teams, the chances come from wide cut backs more often than not or wide forwards cutting inside.

I actually don’t think tactically he is that similar to Klopp. That comparison is mostly coming from the formation being used and the counter press. The Klopp style is high pressure, immediate counter press and diagonal balls from the back. Slot prefers to build his play through midfield and doesn’t use long diagonal balls too often.

In fact, if you ignore the 4-3-3, he is far more similar to another Premier League manager than Klopp. Likes possession, builds through midfield, prefers a short, intricate passing style and creates chances from wide cut backs in the penalty area while employing an aggressive counter press – Pep Guardiola. Specifically, the Guardiola of about 2 years ago, before Haaland moved there.

I think FSG are going for him not because he’s similar to Klopp in tactics, but because Slot will require less new signings than say Ruben Amorim, who would probably have needed 3 at minimum, but probably 4.

He is also cheaper than any other choice touted, is far less demanding (Alonso and Amorim both have quite a lot of control) and I think FSG clearly want to move away from another Klopp style appointment where all the control and power sits with one man. Slot seems fine having minimal control over things that don’t happen on a match day.

I even wonder if the club had him in mind from the beginning, considering the players we bought in the summer fit far better in Slot’s tactics than they do Xabi Alonso or Amorim. They’re not even really Klopp players. Klopp prefers hard working water carriers in midfield and our most successful teams have had three of those. While Alexis Mac Allister works very hard he is no high pressing water carrier, he is the kind of player you can trust your midfield play to flow through, same for Dominik Szoboszlai really (when he’s on form) the only guy who does seem to be a Klopp player is Wataru Endo, who incidentally was the cheapest and most short term.

I still have my doubts because as I’ve said in other posts that Dutch coaches just don’t do well here, at best they’re decent cup managers and none have ever challenged for a title. Doesn’t mean they can’t, but remember Erik ten Hag also dominated Dutch football and I’d say (after a year of watching United regularly) he is very tactically naïve. McLaren also won titles there and he is now assistant manager to the last guy to win titles in Dutch football and come here. That’s the standard of their League.

So while I may have doubts, the simple truth is, Liverpool is not an easy sell right now. We like to believe it is because we’re fans but people outside of the club don’t view it that way. Trust me, I’ve heard them say it in professional football circles.

If he does arrive, good luck. I’ll cheer with some healthy skepticism. Klopp made us believers, I’ll be expecting the same approach from Slot.


Written by Nevada April 24 2024 13:15:52


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