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Arne Slot’s first interview at Liverpool: ‘Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola rivalry is my football inspiration’

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Liverpool boss Arne Slot on the similarities in style between him and Jurgen Klopp: “I think there are and that’s also one of the reasons why I came in. When something has been successful, a certain way of playing, you would like to extend this or to go on with this”

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Liverpool boss Arne Slot has given the fans a hint of what they might expect next season, saying his football style has been inspired by the rivalry between his predecessor at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp, and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Slot left Feyenoord at the end of last season to replace Klopp, who spent nine years at Anfield, and the Dutchman has now given his first club interview at Liverpool.

The 45-year-old insists his similar style of football to Klopp was one of the reasons why Liverpool appointed him.

“I think that is also one of the reasons why I came in, because the way Liverpool ‘scouted’ me. I’m not sure if that is the right word to use – they were looking for, not the exact same type, but when something has been successful [with] a certain way of playing you would like to extend this or to go on with this. This is probably one of the reasons they came to me as well.

“It is my style but it is the style of many modern coaches at the moment. We were all a bit inspired because of the rivalry between City and Liverpool.

“We were all inspired by Guardiola and Klopp and I think at a big club, which I worked in in Feyenoord as well, it is probably the only style you can play – to have the ball a lot, to have a lot of energy, and also now there are comparisons between the club I left behind and the club I am going to work for now.”

Slot on similarities with Klopp…

Arne Slot on if there are similarities in style between himself and Jurgen Klopp:

“I think there are and I think that’s also one of the reasons why I came in.

“When something has been successful, a certain way of playing, you would like to extend this or to go on with this. This is probably one of the reasons they came to me as well.

“It is my style but I think it is the style of many modern coaches at the moment. We were all a bit inspired because of the rivalry between City and Liverpool.

“At a big club, where I worked at Feyenoord as well, it is probably the only style you can play; to have the ball a lot and to have a lot of energy.”

Similarities between Slot’s Feyenoord and Klopp’s Liverpool

  • Feyenoord have won possession in the final third more than any team in Europe’s top five leagues, with Liverpool in second
  • The average distance from their own goal when winning possession in open play: Feyenoord 45.2 metres, Liverpool 44.6m
  • High turnovers: Liverpool 353, Feyenoord 344
  • Average possession in the league: Feyenoord 62%, Liverpool 61.4%

Slot, who secured the Dutch Cup in April and led Feyenoord to their first title in six years last season, also revealed that he has spoken to Klopp following his Anfield appointment.

The 45-year-old was keen to tap into Klopp’s Liverpool knowledge and experience, but insisted he was also keen to form his own opinions of the club.

“I did the same in my former clubs when I started over there but if someone worked at a club for nine years [and had] been so successful, you want to know all about it from him and you also want to know things of the players – although I think it is also important to get my own opinion about that.

SLOT

“So, you can only use all this information he has because he did so well, not only in terms of results but I think also everybody saw in his farewell and also in the years before that how popular he was.

“He gave me more than a few good tips but what stood out for me was that he was so happy for me and that – and I think he said this in the media as well – he would be my biggest fan from now on because he supports Liverpool in the best possible way, and you don’t see this very often.

“It says a lot about his character, the way he handled this situation as well.”

Liverpool finished third last season and won the Carabao Cup.

Klopp’s side gained 82 points, nine behind leaders Manchester City and seven behind runners-up Arsenal.

Slot is keen to build on the foundations laid by Klopp last season and over his nine-year-tenure at the club as he looks to challenge Manchester City and Arsenal for the Premier League title.

“I think 82 points is a result of the playing style. Always the points you get is always a result of the way you play. I’ve seen many games already, I’ve seen many training sessions as well.

“Of course the fans can see the games, so they know we have some very good players. But I’ve also seen a lot of training sessions already and this is where you bring the culture, and they are always working hard – like the fans see during the game.

“A real good team, real good players, managed to be on top for a very long time, but 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.

“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, which is necessary with the likes of Arsenal and City, to end up hopefully a bit higher than we did this season.”

Arne Slot, head coach of Feyenoord, looks on during the UEFA Champions League, Group E, football match played between Atletico de Madrid and Feyenoord Rotterdam at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on October 04, 2023, in Madrid, Spain. Irina R. Hipolito / Afp7 04/10/2023 (Europa Press via AP)

Planning is already firmly under way for next season as Slot’s backroom staff at Anfield starts to take shape.

Slot will bring Sipke Hulshoff, who he worked alongside at Feyenoord since 2022, in as his assistant coach.

Ruben Peeters, who will take on the role of lead physical performance coach, and Fabian Otte, who will join as head of first-team goalkeeper coaching, will also move to Merseyside with Slot as they look to continue to challenge with Liverpool next season.

“Jurgen left the club in a really good place, left the team in a really good place,” he added. “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.”

He has done a tremendous job over here and I am really happy with that as a fan, but now as his successor he left Liverpool in the best possible way, I think. So, a very good team, the fans are very good as well, so [I am] looking forward to it.Slot on Klopp

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