Why Slott’s tactics and personality make him the perfect fit for Liverpool

Alex Cable profiles new Liverpool head coach Arne Slott, looking at the Dutchman’s coaching journey, tactics and personality.

Liverpool have found Jurgen Klopp’s successor, which, to borrow a phrase, makes Arne Slott the man of choice: he’s tasked with replacing a Liverpool legend who built the club in his image. David Moyes and Unai Emery know how that can end.

Liverpool are in a better position than Manchester United or Arsenal, who have moved on from long-serving managers, but there is no doubt they are taking a gamble by hiring an unproven slot outside of the Netherlands.

Although UEFA ranks the Netherlands as the sixth best league in Europe, they hope that Slott’s impressive record at AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord will translate to the Premier League.

And they are betting on Slat’s „crazy, exotic football”, (as recently described by Dutch football journalist Marcel van der Groan to Sky Sports) picking up where Klopp left off, but his tactical approach shares more than the current with Pep Guardiola. Liverpool boss.

Nevertheless, Slott is a highly regarded coach with all the tools to succeed at Anfield. Here’s a look at what he could bring to Liverpool.

Progress at Alkmaar, titles at Feyenoord

The 45-year-old former midfielder has only held three managerial posts. He was a great success in all three.

Slott, who was appointed joint head coach of second-tier side SC Kampur in October 2016, went from 14th to third in his only season to reach the semi-finals of the Dutch Cup for the first time in the club’s history. .

His next head coaching role came two years later when he took over at AZ Alkmaar in the 2019/20 season. AZ were joint top of the Eredivisie with nine matches left to play when the pandemic hit and the campaign was abandoned.

That dream debut season was canceled and things fell apart after Slat agreed to join Feyenoord, although he left AZ with the highest points-per-game average (2.11) of any manager in the club’s history.

What followed was Slott’s greatest achievement.

In 2020/21, the year before his arrival, Feyenoord were 23 points behind winners Ajax and near the bottom three points.

Two years later they became champions for the first time in six seasons.

Arne Slott

Slott did not successfully defend their crown in 2023/24, but that is more down to PSV Eindhoven’s remarkable recovery than anything else. Feyenoord have actually won 84 points this season, more than in their 2022/23 title-winning campaign, when they took 82.

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Slat’s tactics are more Guardiola than Klopp

„I certainly don’t want to compare myself to Pep, but he’s an uncontrollable idiot like me,” Slott said. International football In May 2023.

„Manchester City – again it’s not my intention to compare us to them – have a style of play similar to how we like to play with Feyenoord: 4-3-3, building from the back and wanting to press quickly.”

Slott’s high-energy, hard-pressing and possession-centric attacking tactics will be familiar to all Premier League fans. He is well attuned to the tactical fashion of the day, but more like the trendsetter Guardiola than the more maverick Klopp.

Statistics confirm this.

His Feyenoord side have amassed 148 „build-up attacks”, the same number as Liverpool, but Slat’s side have made 72 „direct-attacks”, while Liverpool have made 99, significantly more and top of the Premier League table.

Feyenoord & Liverpool Attacks Comparison
Framing attacks Direct attacks
Feyenoord 148 72
ranking 2nd = 2nd
Liverpool 148 99
ranking 5th 1st

It neatly captures Slatt’s more measured and possession-based approach compared to Klopp’s, as does the analysis of their respective passing numbers.

Liverpool have completed the second longest passes in the Premier League with 1,638, while Feyenoord have completed 1,258, the second fewest in the Eredivisie.

When you think of Liverpool’s long balls, you think of those raking diagonal switches, another point of difference for the Guardiola-inspired slot. Liverpool are second in diagonal switches with 132, while Feyenoord are 57th in their league.

Feyenoord & Liverpool pass comparison
Completed long passes changes
Feyenoord 1,258 69
ranking 17th 17th
Liverpool 1,638 145
ranking 2nd 2nd
Retro Pep than Guardiola now

Guardiola’s teams represent „the ultimate joy in football” and Slat once said „there is no team in the world I would rather watch than Manchester City”.

He may be referring to an earlier incarnation of Man City.

Slott’s aggressive, front-foot attacking football focuses heavily on attacking the wingers from outside, creating opportunities for cuts while stretching the opposition defense – reminiscent of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and City’s 2017/18 100 days. – point season.

Feyenoord are second in the Eredivisie for effort with 777, while Liverpool and Man City are both bottom of the list in England.

Feyenoord, Man City & Liverpool Take-Ons Comparison
Club (Ranking) I tried to take Taking the win
Feyenoord 777 (2nd) 395 (2nd)
Man is the city 729 (10th) 375 (4th)
Liverpool 734 (9th) 331 (11th)
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They are joint-top for offsides (68).

Slott’s aggressive pressing and youth focus, pure glob

The most immediately recognizable aspect of Zlott’s football – and certainly the attribute that caught Liverpool’s eye – was his ultra-aggressive, ultra-intense pressing.

„When we don’t have the ball, we want to win it back quickly by being aggressive and pressing to regain possession,” Slott said.

It is, quite clearly, more Klopp than Guardiola, and the heavy-metal that has re-emerged in somewhat wild form this season is a perfect fit for a Jagenpressing Liverpool.

Passes to defensive action (PPDA) is the best measure of pressure intensity, and Feyenoord’s figure this season is 10.1, which is not only the second-lowest in the Eredivisie, but third among English clubs behind Liverpool (8.9) and Tottenham Hotspur (8.8). ), and much lower than Man City’s 12.0.

But even though he’s still Klopp-like, Slat is, once again, channeling the old Guardiola.

How Man City and Feyenoord compare
group PPDA
Man City (2017/18) 8.3
Man City (2018/19) 10.0
Man City (2019/20) 10.1
Feyenoord (2023/24) 10.2
Man City (2023/24) 12.0

Feyenoord top the Eredivisie charts for final-third tackles (93) and have scored 11 times with the most turnovers, more than anyone in the Eredivisie or Premier League.

But since 2020/21, when Slat joined Feyenoord, they have committed the most turnovers (259) of any side in Europe’s “Big Five” leagues.

group Shot-ending high turnovers
Bayern Munich 261
Liverpool 261
Feyenoord 259
Man is the city 255
PSV 248

Feyenoord finished fourth for winning the final three in the same period.

group Pose. He won the final third place
Bayern Munich 974
Man is the city 961
Liverpool 948
Feyenoord 872
Atlanta 867

It is noteworthy that Liverpool are second in the table above and fourth with the most shot-ending turnovers of 182.

So, when it comes to bowling strategies, Slott will continue to do Klopp’s work.

Slott’s personality and player development is a good sign

„Besides being a great coach, he is eloquent, funny and smart” International footballMartijan Grabendum, Said to I. „Journalists here really like him – he gives straight answers and doesn’t play any games. He is himself in press conferences,” he said.

It’s a sentiment shared by many of Slott’s former and current players, and indeed his warmth is the main reason the dressing-room invests in his ideas, working tirelessly to meet the demands of Slott’s all-out attack and pressing game.

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Understanding Liverpool’s culture as a club and city was vital to Klopp’s success. Slott’s personality is a perfect fit, especially when investing in Liverpool talent.

Seven players aged 23 or under have started at least 10 Eredivisie matches for Feyenoord this season, making it unsurprising that developing young players is one of Slott’s strongest attributes.

Since Slott’s arrival in 2021/22, Feyenoord have made a net profit on transfers of around £35m, and the biggest summer spend in that time was around £31m. He has no choice but to improve the players at his disposal.

That’s good news for Liverpool’s young squad, especially promising academy products like Jarrel Kwanza, Conor Bradley and Bobby Clarke.

Bradley, Kwanzaa
The only downside is his lack of experience

„It’s a big jump from Feyenoord to Liverpool,” Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports after the talks first broke. „When you look at who Liverpool are going for, I think it shows the lack of real top managers at the moment.

„I think it’s a big jump, but he’s a great coach with a great record so far. We’ll see.”

It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, and Carragher captures some of the hesitation that comes with hiring a manager with no experience of a „Big Five” league.

The Premier League presents a unique challenge both tactically and psychologically. The standard of football has risen significantly and the glare of the spotlight on a club of Liverpool’s stature.

That „big jump” was evident when Feyenoord crashed out of the UEFA Champions League group stages this season, finishing below Atletico Madrid and Lazio, winning just two matches and losing 2-1 at Celtic.

Slott, Rodgers

A UEFA Europa League quarter-final appearance in 2022/23 and a UEFA Europa Conference League runner-up medal in 2021/22 tell us that there is no problem for a slot in Europe, but rather that the level of Dutch football is significantly below Europe’s best. .

If so, a move to Liverpool would be a culture shock.

Slott has the tactical acumen, coaching ability and track record to make it a success.

But the Premier League is an unforgiving place, and Liverpool supporters need only look to Old Trafford – and the goodwill towards Erik ten Hoag when he was plucked from the Eredivisie – to see what happens when theory hits cold reality.

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