The 4 key criteria Liverpool have used to pick manager Arne Slot as favourite

With Arne Slot now favourite to replace Jurgen Klopp as the new Liverpool FC manager, we looked at the four key criteria used by the Reds to find the next boss.

Arne Slot has become the latest figure to be linked to the Liverpool job, with widespread reports that Liverpool have opened talks with his current club, Feyenoord, to agree a compensation fee.

Slot, 45, along with the others touted for the role, all have certain skills in common.

Pieter Zwart, who is editor-in-chief at Dutch football magazine Voetbal International, wrote about Liverpool looking for four characteristics in particular, and we looked at how Slot fits in to those.


1. Able to work on a budget and develop players

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)

As Liverpool continue to compete against state-funded clubs like Man City and Newcastle, being able to elevate a team through good coaching is a vital skill the new manager must have.

During his time at Feyenoord, he has actually had a positive net spend, with the club often utilising loans, meaning Slot has to work with a large turnover of players.

Against PSV and Ajax who have bigger budgets, he won last season’s Eredivisie title and recently won this year’s Dutch Cup.

As AZ Alkmaar manager, on an even smaller budget, he had a potential league title taken away when the 2019/20 season was curtailed due to coronavirus while his team were joint-top with Ajax.

In the title-winning Feyenoord squad, key defender David Hancko was signed for just €8.3 million, midfielder Mats Wieffer for €575,000, and striker Santiago Gimenez cost just €6 million.


2. Playing style

Slot tends to play a 4-2-3-1 but doesn’t stick to the formation religiously.

His style was described to the i as “high-energy attacking football in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with two deep-lying midfielders and a reliance on wingers to create chances.”

As per the Coaches Voice, Slot doesn’t “overcommit to the high press,” with his teams “comfortable dropping into a more reserved block” if the opportunity to win the ball back is not there.

This varies slightly from Klopp who rarely sees his team sit deep to soak up pressure.

In 2022, Slot told UEFA: “When we don’t have the ball, we want to win it back as quickly as possible by being aggressive and pressing to win back possession. I think we are a team that is difficult to beat.”

Sounds familiar!


3. Using the current squad

2WXH5AW Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 31st Mar, 2024. Rotterdam - Feyenoord coach Arne Slot during the Eredivisie match between Feyenoord v FC Utrecht at Stadion Feijenoord De Kuip on 31 March 2024 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Credit: box to box pictures/Alamy Live News

Something that may have edged Liverpool in the direction of Slot over Ruben Amorim, is the fact that the Portuguese manager would potentially have to act more in the transfer market to ensure the squad suits his three-at-the-back system.

While Xabi Alonso and Amorim have similar attacking principles to Klopp, Slot sticking with a definite four in defence allows for a smoother transition.

Like Klopp, Slot also likes to use an inverted right-back and a wider left back, which would suit Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold well.


4. Character and personality

Liverpool managers need to be good communicators and have a strong relationship with supporters. Also, modern football often requires managers to be sympathetic towards their players, a trait Slot shares with Klopp.

“He can be angry with his players, of course,” Dennis van Eersel, of Dutch national TV channel RTV, explained. “But he also puts his arm around them. They like him because he’s built a harmony at the club.”

The Dutchman, unsurprisingly, already has a good grasp of English and appears to be charismatic, open and at times humorous to the media and supporters.