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)

Arne Slot has made a strong first impression, it’s all Liverpool fans could ask for

A five-hour delay in Doha gave this Liverpool fan a lot of time to absorb and reflect on Arne Slot‘s first interview as the Reds’ new coach, it left a strong first impression.

After the emotional farewell to Jurgen Klopp, in some ways, it was nice to step outside of the Liverpool bubble as I voyaged to Australia for a very special occasion.

I kept a tentative eye on developments, but as it was so quiet when it came to any transfer speculation and words from Slot himself, it was easy to switch off for a few weeks.

But just as I was about to depart on a 14-hour flight from Sydney to Doha, the notification that we had been waiting for arrived, ‘Arne Slot‘s first interview’.

Incredible timing after waiting weeks for any updates.

While a five-hour delay in the Doha airport was far from desirable, it did offer the chance for me to settle in and return to the Liverpool bubble as Slot spoke as our head coach for the first time.

I found him honest, open and, importantly, aware of the job he has taken on, but also self-assured enough that he will be doing it his own way.


Quietly confident…

Nestled into a corner booth – a lucky find on my part after far too long walking around the gargantuan airport waiting for any flight updates – I pulled up the interview on my phone.

Twenty-six minutes and 30 seconds, a brilliant length for anyone trying to find ways to make the unexpected wait go faster and a decent opportunity for a first look at the new man at the helm.

I cannot lie, there’s still a part of me that expects Jurgen Klopp to walk through the doors for pre-season in the coming weeks, but I was given a lift by what we heard from the Dutchman.

He’s been a student of what Klopp did at the club, but he’s self-assured enough that he doesn’t need to try and be Jurgen in any way.

“Let one thing be clear: the players are not going to get all the same exercises again – we will implement our own things,” he said.

There was a quiet conviction in his words, there were no over-the-top promises – as we’re witnessing in UK politics right now – but rather a clear confidence that he can rise to the challenge.

“I think in the end we would all love to see Liverpool a bit higher than third place and this is the challenge we are facing now – to build on from what we have,” Slot explained.

“I have all the confidence in this because of the players, that we can add a few things where we hopefully can get a bit more points than 82.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, May 27, 2024: Jürgen Klopp during An Evening with Jürgen Klopp' an event at the Liverpool Arena celebrating Klopp's nine years as manager of Liverpool Football Club. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

It is no secret that there was trepidation when all signs pointed to his appointment, but you can ask for little more from this first ‘official’ introduction.

The job is a daunting one, but he did not come across as intimidated by it or the shoes he is to fill, rather choosing to be respectful of what Klopp left behind while reiterating his belief in his own principles.

That might be the ‘bare minimum’ for some, but let’s not forget this is one of the most pressurised jobs in the world and we can only take what we’ve been given so far, and it is promising.


He wasn’t trying to win me over, but he slowly is

While I lay haphazardly in this booth, willing my energy to regenerate, what also struck me was the undercurrent of bubbling excitement from Arne for what is to come.

Quick with a smile and armed with answers that neither dragged on nor lacked depth, I found myself slowly starting to be won over despite him clearly not attempting to purposefully do so.

This is only the first interview and we have not seen anything on the pitch yet, but he inspired some confidence within me and that is more than what I expected.

Before he was officially confirmed in the role, we did hear quite a lot from the 45-year-old – probably too much – but what has not changed is how personable he comes across.

That is key in winning over the players, club staff and, of course, the fans and you could not fault his openness and communication skills.

The message he left us all with was on the money: “I will do everything within my interest and power to lead the team in the best possible way.”

As a custodian of the club, it is all fans can ask. How it will all pan out, only time will tell.

But after nearly five hours of mulling it all over, plus a further seven hours on another flight, I was more optimistic than I was before and that buzz for the new season slowly started to come out of hibernation.

Nobody knows what the future holds, but Slot’s words and disposition was a small injection of belief I did not realise I needed, and maybe I am getting closer to joining Klopp in a rendition of ‘Arne Slot, na na, na na na!’ Just maybe…