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)

Analysis shows Arne Slot’s brilliant flexibility for role as new Liverpool manager

Arne Slot is poised to take over in the summer, and with his managerial career limited to the Netherlands to date, we can never delve into what he will offer too much.

The 45-year-old has not officially been confirmed as Liverpool’s next manager, or rather head coach, but the deal is as good as done to see him take over from Jurgen Klopp in the summer.

The current Feyenoord manager has just three league games left and knows a second-placed finish is confirmed, with PSV setting an unassailable lead at the top.

What he will bring to Anfield remains the big talking point, and FourFourTwo (video above) have had an extensive look at his style of play and how he would fit in at Liverpool.



BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi speak after the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sometimes it is easier to draw comparisons to those we know more about and Slot was likened to a wide array of Premier League managers:

  • Off the ball: Jurgen Klopp
  • In possession: Pep Guardiola/Roberto De Zerbi
  • Defending: Mikel Arteta
  • Personality: Ange Postecoglou


Quick movement

Arne Slot, Feyenoord (Getty Images, Via UEFA Handout)

Slot predominantly uses a 4-2-3-1 system, but has also shifted to a 4-3-3 when required, and this, in addition to other set-up and personnel choices mean Feyenoord have been “very adaptable with their approach.”

A key component of Slot’s ethos is that “they want you to come onto them so they can get through you as quick as possible,” but that rarely involves a long ball. In 2023/24 to date, they have the fewest long passes in the Eredivisie.

They carefully pick their moments to win the ball back, typically targeting a perceived weak link – they have 11 goals from turnovers this season, which is the most in the league.


There is no ‘set way’

Arne Slot, Feyenoord (Getty Images, Via UEFA Handout)

FourFourTwo’s Adam Clery sums up Slot’s style of play rather well, saying: “There is a reason you have never heard of ‘Slotball’.

“It’s not just because it sounds incredibly dirty, it is because there is not one clear, defined pattern of play that Arne Slot has.”

The Dutchman does not have a “set way” to get at teams as he has utilised inverted full-backs but has also used them to provide width, and he’s had success with through balls to attack the space and crosses into the box.

“There’s elements of Liverpool’s old high-pressing style, but there’s also elements of that nice Arsenal 4-4-2 block that exists, they also play a little bit like De Zerbi coming out from the back.

“He’s assembled all the best bits of recent tactical innovation because that’s what’s going to be effective for this Feyenoord side,” Clery added.


Links to ball-playing centre-backs? Don’t be surprised

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 17, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk (L) and Ibrahima Konaté celebrate after the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. Liverpool won 4-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is a significant onus on the centre-backs under Slot to be comfortable in possession and under pressure, which is where Clery identified Ibrahima Konate as someone who may struggle.

He explained: “As a centre-back doing ‘slot ball’ you need to be supremely comfortable receiving the ball on the half-turn, under pressure and playing forward under duress.

“Konate is a brilliant defender, but that’s not necessarily where his real skill set is.

“You would imagine if they were going to spend any big bucks when Slot comes in, it might be on another ball-playing centre-back.”

The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Jarell Quansah and Joe Gomez ought to adapt more easily to these demands.