Interestingly, senior figures at Liverpool FC are more than happy to admit that Jurgen Klopp’s departure has forced them into what they see as a ‘challenging market’ for managers.

These difficult conditions are confirmed by Barcelona’s reversal of Xavi, Bayern Munich’s cheeky fling from one target to another, and the fact that Manchester United are considering holding on to Erik Ten Hag.

For all that said this is a tricky search for Klopp’s replacement, the Reds are fully convinced they have struck managerial gold in the form of Arne Slott.

A brief review of the Dutchman’s career so far provides enough evidence that at least some level of optimism is justified.

At AZ Alkmaar, Slott achieved the highest points-per-game ratio of any manager in the club’s history, and was putting together an incredible title challenge before the 2019/20 season was brought to an end due to the coronavirus.

Arne Slot and Sipke Hulshoff (Alamy Images)Arne Slot and Sipke Hulshoff (Alamy Images)

He then led Feyenoord to one of only two titles they have won in the last 25 years, the Dutch Cup and an appearance in the Europa Conference League final.

With these achievements, Slott received the Rinus Michels award for the best coach in the Netherlands in each of the last two campaigns.

However, silverware and individual awards alone would not be enough to convince Liverpool that this is their next manager.

The Reds’ data team famously used advanced analytics to prove that Klopp’s poor final season in charge of Borussia Dortmund was an oddity that could be discounted from any assessment of his merits.

And there is the famous story of then sporting director Michael Edwards effectively stalking the German to try to find out if he would fit in well with the culture at Anfield before agreeing on his appointment.

The success of that fastidious approach means that a similar level of attention is paid to the details of this path and the data and character references.

Arne Slot remains in the Netherlands (Richard Sellers/PA)Arne Slot remains in the Netherlands (Richard Sellers/PA)

On this occasion, Liverpool’s checks showed that the manager is committed to thinking ahead in all aspects of his role, including sports science, recruitment and medicine, among others.

That certainly makes him a good fit for a club that has embraced artificial intelligence and brain training in recent years, as well as bringing in a throw-in coach in a bid to find a key edge.

The Reds’ research also told them that Slott boasts high-level communication skills that have helped him not only build a strong bond with his players across a number of clubs, but also constantly improve them.

And while Darwin Nunez is already being touted as the biggest prospect on that front, he’s not the only member of the young team that needs to take further steps forward.

Slott, then, appears to tick many of the boxes that Klopp ticked in 2015, and the similarities between the pair have actually become a theme of this recruitment process.

That the formation favored by the new Liverpool manager is similar to that of his predecessor is no coincidence given that he will have to work with a team built for such a set-up.

Meanwhile, we’re also hoping that Slott’s preference for a comparable brand of high-energy football will also help win him over to fans who have come to love that approach even more over the last eight and a half years.

In fact, those stylistic similarities could perhaps prove crucial if there are any difficult early moments given that the new man arrives without the same level of celebrity or credit in the bank that Klopp boasted.

However, if Liverpool’s due diligence is as valuable as it proved to be when they last made a managerial appointment, then it may not take long for Slott to win over any Anfield doubters.


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