Premier League: Liverpool Officially Announces Jürgen Klopp’s Successor.

Premier League: Liverpool Officially Announces Jürgen Klopp’s Successor

“Liverpool Football Club can announce that Arne Slot has agreed to become the new head coach of the club, officially taking his position on June 1, 2024, subject to the receipt of a work permit,” announced the Premier League’s third-placed team in a statement.

He replaces Jürgen Klopp, who decided to leave after nine years of dedicated service with the Reds. The Dutch coach arrives following three highly successful seasons with Feyenoord, finishing second this season. Notably, he led the club to the championship title in 2023 and was named Eredivisie Manager of the Year twice.

As Jürgen Klopp stepped onto the Anfield pitch, he received a standing ovation from the supporters, who displayed a huge tifo reading “Jürgen,” while others waved scarves bearing the German coach’s image.

Fans then created a heart in the colors of the German flag with posters before singing the club anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” in front of Jürgen Klopp.

During his nine years with the Reds, the 56-year-old coach formed a strong bond with Liverpool fans, who were quickly charmed by his passionate personality. This passion was illustrated by the warm hugs he exchanged with his staff members in the tunnel before arriving on the field on Sunday.

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The German leaves Merseyside after a nine-year reign in which he established himself as one of Liverpool’s greatest managers. In 2020, Jürgen Klopp led the Reds to their first English championship title in 30 years. He also lifted the Champions League in 2019, as well as an FA Cup and two League Cups, including this season’s victory against Chelsea. Liverpool is assured of finishing third in the Premier League, which ends on Sunday.

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Feyenoord Rotterdam’s Dutch coach, Arne Slot, confirmed on Friday during a press conference that he would be Liverpool’s new manager next season, replacing Jürgen Klopp.

“There has been no official announcement yet, but I can confirm that I will be the coach there next season,” he said during a press conference before Feyenoord’s last match against Excelsior Rotterdam on Sunday.

Officially appointed as the Reds’ head coach yesterday, the Dutchman already has a requirement for the upcoming summer transfer window: he wants a midfielder.

There was no suspense left. Announced by the English press and confirmed by Jürgen Klopp during his last match at Anfield, Arne Slot officially became Liverpool’s new coach yesterday afternoon at around 6 pm. The Dutch coach will have the heavy task of succeeding a Reds legend. His first choices will therefore be closely watched. With the Premier League season over, it will take some time before we learn about the tactical decisions of Anfield’s new strongman.

However, Liverpool fans will have plenty of opportunities to witness his first decisions for the summer transfer window, which officially opens in about three weeks. It seems that Slot has already identified his first desired signing. According to Turkish media Fotospor, relayed by the Portuguese press, the chosen one is Orkun Kökçü, Benfica’s midfielder.

Slot Wants to Reunite with a Former Protege

Kökçü is not a stranger to Slot, as the two worked together for three years at Feyenoord before the Turkish player’s departure to Portugal in 2023. The most expensive signing in Aguias’ history (€25 million), Kökçü symbolizes the failure of the club’s expensive transfer market this season. Despite being inconsistent, he still managed 7 goals and 11 assists in 43 matches across all competitions. Contracted to SLB until 2028, Kökçü was recently linked with a move to Russian club Zenit, but Benfica does not seem willing to part with him.

This might be surprising given what Kökçü said about his club and coach Roger Schmidt in an interview with De Telegraaf last March. “I chose Benfica thinking it was the best option for my career and that I could progress in all areas. That only happened partially. Since the beginning, they never made me feel important. Not even the coach. I’m not the type to complain, but maybe I’ve been too modest until now, considering the role I’ve been given.” Will things change if Slot insists on bringing back his former player?

As Liverpool’s new coach, Arne Slot will have a lot on his plate as Jürgen Klopp’s successor. Although relatively unknown to the general public, the Dutch coach has proven his qualities.

He Was a Player Before Becoming a Coach

Slot’s first experience as a coach was with a youth team in the summer of 2013, just after ending his playing career. Trained at PEC Zwolle, where he made his debut in September 1998, Arne Slot spent 15 years playing in the Netherlands. A versatile attacking midfielder who played across the front line and in various midfield positions, he only played for three clubs. Besides PEC Zwolle (176 matches, 52 goals, and 30 assists), he wore the shirts of NAC Breda (154 matches, 22 goals, and 16 assists) and Sparta Rotterdam (57 matches, 6 goals, and 7 assists). Alternating between the first (208 matches) and second Dutch divisions (136 matches), he experienced European competitions twice with NAC Breda, in the 2002/2003 Intertoto Cup and the 2003/2004 UEFA Cup. Considered an elegant player, Arne Slot may not have left a significant mark on Dutch football as a player but possessed certain qualities.

In his first professional coaching experience with AZ Alkmaar, where he was previously an assistant, Arne Slot quickly achieved impressive results. With 18 wins, 2 draws, and 5 losses in 25 matches, a polished style of play, and a distinctive approach, he led his team to second place, tied on points with Ajax Amsterdam. In the midst of a title race with the Godenzonen, AZ Alkmaar’s momentum was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which froze the season without a champion being named. Nevertheless, AZ Alkmaar surprised many with the trio of Calvin Stengs, Oussama Idrissi, and Myron Boadu, along with the work of coach Arne Slot. “We could already see Arne Slot’s influence on AZ’s teams over the past two years. This season, he and the players were already familiar. And he knew all the young players from the U19 and U21 teams. He plays attacking football and says: when you play attacking football, players tend to enjoy training more. Even in away games against PSV and Feyenoord and the home match against Manchester United, AZ was very offensive,” explained Steven Kooijman, a journalist for De Telegraaf, at the time.

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After this season, Arne Slot remained at AZ Alkmaar, attempting to lead the Dutch club far in Europe. Eliminated in the third round of the Europa League, they had a good group stage in the Europa League with 8 points in 5 matches in a group with Napoli, Real Sociedad, and Rijeka (the team was third at his departure after a loss to Rijeka). In the league, AZ Alkmaar didn’t have a great start, but they were unbeaten with 4 wins and 5 draws in 9 matches. However, Arne Slot was dismissed. Rumored to join Feyenoord, where Dick Advocaat was no longer favored, he was fired. “We want a head coach who is fully focused on AZ,” said Max Huiberts, AZ Alkmaar’s technical director, in December 2020. A few months later, Arne Slot indeed joined Feyenoord.

He Brought Feyenoord Back to the Top

Feyenoord Rotterdam, the third most successful Dutch club behind Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven, remains an institution in the Netherlands. However, they only won the title in 2017 and faced difficult times in recent seasons. Arne Slot inherited a team that finished fifth, far behind their rivals, but he quickly got them back on track. Third in his first season behind Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven, he surprised many in Europe by reaching the final of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League, eliminating Partizan Belgrade, Slavia Prague, and Olympique de Marseille. In the final, AS Roma won through a goal by Nicolo Zaniolo (1-0). The following season saw a national confirmation with a hard-fought Eredivisie title. Back in the Champions League, Arne Slot and his team were relegated to the Europa League and won the Dutch Cup against NEC Nijmegen (1-0). Despite finishing second in a championship dominated by PSV Eindhoven this season, Feyenoord remained solid and confirmed their return as title contenders.

The Dutch Guardiola

Successor to Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool, Arne Slot is a big fan of Klopp’s great rival in recent years: Pep Guardiola. “I definitely don’t want to compare myself to Pep, but he’s a control freak just like me. When I look at myself, I try to win a match in the week leading up to it, by perfectly conveying training, pre-match discussions, and tactics to the players. There is no team in the world I prefer to watch more than Manchester City, followed by Napoli, Arsenal, and Brighton,” he said in an interview in 2023 for Voetbal International. Nicknamed the Dutch Guardiola in the Netherlands, Arne Slot shares many similarities with Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool: attacking play, intense pressing, the use of a 4-3-3 formation, and a desire to build up from the back. From Guardiola to Klopp, it’s just one step, and it’s up to Arne Slot to take it.

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