Arne Slot new first team manager of Liverpool Football Club at AXA Training Centre on June 19, 2024 in Kirkby, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

5 key things from Arne Slot’s first Liverpool FC interview: Watching training and talks with players

Arne Slot has given his first interview as Liverpool FC head coach, and we’ve picked out five key things from the Dutchman now in charge of the Reds.

1. Focus on the training pitch – and building relationships

Asked what he will be focussing on and his style of coaching, Slot emphasised his desire to impact things on the training pitch.

“When I come in in the first days, in the first week I’m here, I will be really focused on the training ground,” he said.

“I think there is the place where you can influence the most and you have to influence the most, because you have to influence your players, common to [the] game model and your game plan.

And I think that’s where it’s all about – to find a way of playing which suits the players the best and then adjust maybe with the game plan a bit where we can win a few things.”

In the interview, the similarities to former boss Jurgen Klopp are discussed, and one certainly arises from Slot’s focus on being a people person and having strong relationships with those at the club:

Arne Slot new first team manager of Liverpool Football Club at AXA Training Centre on June 19, 2024 in Kirkby, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“But that’s all tactical and I think there’s something else towards being a head coach or a manager or the way you want to call it and that is the relations you have with people.

“The relationships I have with my staff but also the players, how they get along with each other and the relationships between staff and players – and I think this was one of the things, looking at it from the outside, where Jürgen was great at as well apart from playing style.

“That is a challenge because I’m 100 per cent sure that many people who are still at this club still love him. We have to find a way that people get used to me and used to the new staff that’s coming in, and get the same energy in this building and eventually into the stadium as well because that’s where it’s all about – we have to perform during the games.

“But to perform there, I think it’s important to have a good idea of how we want to play and a good energy within the team and within the people who are working at Liverpool.”

2. Learning from Liverpool training sessions last season

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 6, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp jokes with Dominik Szoboszlai during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 1st Leg match between AC Sparta Prague and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Besides knowing the basic facts of what happened to Liverpool last season, Slot explained how he has watched back not only matches but also training sessions of the Reds – where he saw the “culture” that Jurgen Klopp had created within the club.

“There are two things [why] to do this [..] to get to know more about the players because mostly you see them during the games. And you want to know also what the culture is, how they train and what they are used to.

“I think it’s always interesting if you are the successor of Jürgen Klopp and also Pepijn Lijnders, who does quite a bit of work on the training pitch, to see what their ideas were on the training pitch.

“I said this, we all try to steal a bit from each other – mostly this is done by looking at the games but if you can see the way they train, that can only help you.

“Let one thing be clear: the players are not going to get all the same exercises again – we will implement our own things. But it’s interesting to see what they did also during the week.”

3. Speaking with players so far

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk lines-up before the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds’ new head coach revealed how he has spoken with some players so far, in particular captain and compatriot Virgil van Dijk:

“I’ve reached out to a few of them – all of them after Jürgen left, because I thought that was really important to be fair to Jürgen and be fair to the players.

“Because they had to end the season and I don’t think I would be really happy if my successor would have called players before I left the club.

“Then I think it’s normal to start with the captain, which is Virgil [van Dijk], which is an easy one for me because we could speak Dutch!

“And from there on I called a few others, but not many of them because most of them are in preparation, or at this moment playing, at the Euros, and some others are in preparation at the Copa America.

“So I think the best way is to keep a certain distance but also be interested in them as well. And hoping that most of them – especially the Dutch! – will still be as long as possible away so they will reach the final.

“Then afterwards I will get to meet them and I think that’s a better way of getting to know each other than by phone or Zoom meetings.”

4. Similarities with Feyenoord as a club

Feyenoord’s Arne Slot is Liverpool’s new head coach, replacing Jurgen Klopp (PA)

While Feyenoord may not be a club the size of Liverpool, there are some similarities more with the city and the type of people and supporters, which Slot noted:

“I’ve already said, there’s a few similarities between Feyenoord and Liverpool. Both are cities alongside the river, people work on the docks, it’s a hard working class, fans that appreciate seeing the team.

“I think these clubs like Feyenoord and Liverpool, from what I saw of it, it just means a bit more for the fans, it just means a bit more if the team does well than at some other places around the world.

“This is what I felt at Feyenoord and I’m expecting to feel the same here at Anfield as well.”

5. Arne’s message to fans

Pressed for a final message to fans, the 45-year-old had wise words about change:

“There is a change but the change hopefully isn’t that big, because we still have the same players, we still have the same fans – and if the both of them are going to do the same job, that will make my life a lot more easy!

“I’m expecting them to show up again in the upcoming season, and the same for the players. I will do everything within my interest and power to lead the team in the best possible way.”