English media focus on the task awaiting Slot at Liverpool

Now that the appointment of Arne Slot at Liverpool is official, the English media are focusing on the task awaiting him at Anfield. Apart from the heavy legacy left by Jürgen Klopp, the former Feyenoord coach will have to make some important decisions right away.

English media focus on the task awaiting Slot at Liverpool
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Although Slot has been appointed not as a manager but as a head coach, he will indeed have an important say in extending the contracts of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The Dutch captain, the Egyptian star player, and the English right-back all have only one year left on their contracts and will therefore need to extend their contracts soon or leave Liverpool. Sky Sports states that Slot will need to convince these three key players that there is a future for them at Anfield under his leadership. This task is critical, as the retention of such high-caliber players will significantly influence Liverpool's performance and ambitions in the coming seasons.

Furthermore, both Sky Sports and The Guardian note that Darwin Núñez, who scored eleven times in the Premier League, did not perform well this season. The record signing, like Liverpool's other forwards, excelled in missing chances, preventing Liverpool from keeping up in the title race with Manchester City and Arsenal. Former striker John Aldridge states in a column for the Liverpool Echo that Núñez was simply not good enough and openly wonders if the 24-year-old Uruguayan should be replaced. Slot will have to address this issue, determining whether to persist with Núñez in hopes of improvement or to seek a more reliable goal scorer to bolster Liverpool's attack.

Of course, the 45-year-old coach does not have the final say. Michael Edwards has been brought back as technical director and will shape the sporting policy alongside Richard Hughes. Their collaboration will be crucial in identifying and acquiring new talents to fill any gaps in the squad. Does Liverpool need a world-class defensive midfielder? And does the team require an additional top-quality central defender now that Joël Matip is leaving on a free transfer? According to Sky Sports and the Liverpool Echo, such questions loom large, so that both Van Dijk and Alexis Mac Allister can perform at their best again. Addressing these needs will be pivotal in maintaining Liverpool’s competitiveness at the highest level.

A calculated risk

Aside from that, Slot will mainly need to build on Klopp's work. Klopp’s era at Liverpool was marked by significant success, including Premier League and Champions League titles, which set a high benchmark. For this reason, The Guardian believes that the appointment of the relatively unknown coach in England is a calculated risk. Especially if Slot succeeds, as he did during his time at Feyenoord, in integrating young, talented players into the first team and winning over the passionate crowd at The Kop. Slot’s ability to nurture young talent and integrate them into the senior team could be crucial in a period of transition.

If Liverpool also manages to play the energetic pressing football that impressed for years under Klopp, the newspaper is quite optimistic about Slot's chances of success. This style of play, characterized by high intensity and aggressive pressing, has been a hallmark of Liverpool’s identity in recent years and retaining it will be key to maintaining the team’s competitive edge. The success of Slot’s tenure will largely depend on his ability to sustain this footballing philosophy while addressing the immediate challenges of contract renewals, squad improvements, and tactical adaptations.

Slot's appointment comes at a time when Liverpool is eager to reclaim its dominance in English and European football. His success at Feyenoord, where he demonstrated tactical acumen and a talent for player development, offers hope that he can replicate this at Anfield. However, the stakes are high, and the challenges are numerous. The integration of new signings, the retention of key players, and the continuation of an effective playing style will be pivotal. If Slot manages to navigate these complexities, he could very well lead Liverpool to new heights, continuing the legacy of success initiated by Klopp.