Arne Slot: Similarities and differences to Jurgen Klopp

With current Feyenoord manager Arne Slot set to take over from Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, we spoke to Dutch football journalist Michael Statham (@EredivisieMike) to learn more about the new head coach.


Why do you think Liverpool were interested in Slot?

People believe that he is very similar to Jurgen Klopp with playing style, a little bit of charisma about him as well. Some comparisons as well have been made with Pep Guardiola.

I think he is very good but I’m not going to go out and say he’s as good as him already. Of course he can’t have proven himself yet but, Arne Slot, trying to talk about him cautiously, I do think he’s that good.

I do think he’s up there, by far the best manager in the Netherlands and has been for four years now, and I’m saying that with, of course, Erik ten Hag having come from the same country.

Slot is someone who is obsessed with playing style, a very good man-manager and I think he’s got what it takes.


Should fans worry that he is unproven outside the Netherlands?

I think what he’s been able to show in the Netherlands is that pretty much every season he’s been a head coach, he’s had a success.

Arne Slot of Feyenoord celebrates with the Eredivisie trophy during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Feyenoord and Go Ahead Eagles at Feijenoord Stadion on May 14, 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands (Photo by Peter Lous/Orange Pictures)

Whether that was winning the Dutch league last season, the Dutch Cup this season, or going back as far as 2017 with second-tier side Cambuur – he managed to finish third having taken over mid-table and reached the semi-finals of the Dutch Cup.

He’s always been able to stretch players, people, what the club can achieve and stamp his authority on the history of clubs, whether that was with AZ Alkmaar or Feyenoord.

I think that what sets him apart is the way that he plays football, though, and I think that’s why Liverpool want him.


Does Liverpool’s squad fit his style or is an overhaul needed?

I don’t think an overhaul is needed. I also don’t think it would be right to compare him to Klopp and say he needs to have the same impact.

2WYJR81 Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 07th Apr, 2024. Rotterdam - Feyenoord coach Arne Slot during the Eredivisie match between Feyenoord v Ajax at Stadion Feijenoord De Kuip on 7 April 2024 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Credit: box to box pictures/Alamy Live News

He loves to play a 4-2-3-1, but in Dutch style that’s a 4-3-3 basically.

Out of the top seven leagues in Europe, his side Feyenoord have the most turnovers of any club – second place is Liverpool.

Recoveries as well, so in terms of coming back into games they’re always fighters. They like to force themselves upon opposition and he is just a very attacking coach.

I do think that he’s someone that likes who likes to use the width, in terms of getting extra players forward to open up areas, making space in the centre of the pitch using a double pivot.

Liverpool, without doubt, would probably take a backward step after him coming in, but you have to expect that a little bit with the change.

I think the way that he gets to full-back to press up high with the winger is a mark of the way he gets these sides to play.


Does he always stick to his system or does he adapt to the opposition?

Arne Slot is remaining in the Netherlands (Richard Sellers/PA)

On the whole he sticks to what he has. Hardly ever has he changed the formation but he occasionally has put a second striker on and put him in the No. 10 position.

He does rotate where the players play, so Mats Wieffer is a midfielder but when they’re chasing a game, he’ll drop in at centre-back and they’ll put an extra attacking player on.

He does those kind of things, but they’re quite predictable when chasing the game.


Any players he might like to bring with him?

Quilindschy Hartman is a great left-back, a talent of the future. He’ll be the Netherlands left-back for a long time to come.

Wieffer has done quite well this season, but I don’t know how much higher his ceiling is.

READ HERE: Feyenoord defender Lutsharel Geertruida “would love” Liverpool transfer

Santiago Gimenez has been great for Feyenoord for a season-and-a-half but there’s no-one that you’re thinking ‘yeah, he’s going to take him with him. He’s brilliant’.

But they have got lots of very good players who have the potential perhaps to play for a team like Liverpool.

Big thanks go to Michael for his insight. You can follow Michael Statham on X (Twitter) @EredivisieMike.