Football News

Marco van Basten backs Arne Slot to succeed Jurgen Klopp amid Liverpool links

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:00, 23 April 2024

Marco van Basten believes Feyenoord boss Arne Slot can follow Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.

Klopp dropped a bombshell on January 24 when he announced his departure from the Reds once this season concludes.

The news, reminiscent of Bill Shankly’s exit five decades prior, surprised everyone. We are left asking who succeeds the German tactician after he transformed Liverpool from a club looking from the outside to arguably England’s finest.


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There will be no shortage of candidates, but the fan’s choice, Xabi Alonso, will not undertake what must be deemed an unenviable task. Alonso, who guided Bayer Leverkusen to a first Bundesliga title and breaking Bayern Munich’s relentless 11-year monopoly, has decided to remain in Germany, overseeing the club’s forthcoming Champions League campaign.

Another potential candidate, Rúben Amorim, could end up at West Ham after potentially guiding Sporting CP to a second Portuguese championship in three seasons. Amorim’s present deal in Lisbon expires this summer, which cannot be said for Slot, who is set to remain at the Rotterdam giants until June 2026 after extending his contract last year following heavy coverage of succeeding Antonio Conte as Tottenham’s full-time head coach.

However, despite staying, Van Basten feels Slot — linked with the vacant Anfield job — is ready to leave the Netherlands and can set up at several European powerhouses, including Liverpool.

“I think Slot is really good. I hope he stays in the Netherlands longer because it enriches Dutch football,” he told Ziggo Sport.

“He can really go anywhere: Bayern Munich, Liverpool… I’m convinced of that. I hope he stays in the Netherlands, but I am convinced he can do it anywhere. I’ve spoken to him a few times, and he handles the players very well. Of course, he is also very well-versed tactically.

“I can explain his ideas well; he is calm and intelligent. He is a top trainer. I think he can go to any club, even difficult clubs. He is very smart in his choice of words.”

A returning Michael Edwards will undertake the search for Klopp’s replacement. Having worked as Liverpool’s sporting director between 2016 and 2022 and returned earlier this year as their chief executive of football.

Edwards, renowned for utilising a cutting-edge team of data analysts and scouts, could raise an eyebrow when looking at Slot’s numbers.

For one, when looking across Europe’s top seven leagues since Arne Slot took charge of Feyenoord in July 2021, there are two Klopp-esque metrics he matches or is in the ballpark of. The first concerns the most possession won in the final third: Feyenoord boasts 722, with Liverpool not far behind with 706. Secondly, when it comes to most points from losing positions, both teams are level (62).

That is not to say Slot is a Klopp regen. From a tactical perspective, he’s a 4-2-3-1 guy, with Klopp (ironically) opting for an orthodox 4-3-3, which Dutch coaches often favour.

Once concluding a modest, nearly two-decade playing career, the former midfielder was soon appointed Cambuur interim manager before AZ gave him a full-time deal. One season in Alkmaar was enough to convince Feyenoord, and Slot would quickly turn their fortunes around. Building on a third-placed finish, Slot ended the club’s six-year championship drought, and he’s likely to claim a runners-up spot this season after winning the club’s 14th Dutch Cup.

Whoever takes over from Klopp would represent a huge gamble, but the next manager will inherit a battle-hardened squad with the right combination of youth and experience. The former speaks to a coach of Slot’s calibre. The native of Bergentheim can be described as a ‘teacher’, someone best suited to a squad needing guidance. One could argue Liverpool post-Klopp requires a ‘people’s manager’ who can deal with a more experienced group of players.

“I really think it is the perfect moment for a new manager and not the wrong one because we didn’t win everything, we left spaces,” Klopp said last month.

“Go at City after Pep Guardiola and you need to be champion 10 years in a row to achieve the same! Maybe it was good for that reason that we didn’t become champion with 97 points.

“The people here are different. The people gave Bill Shankly the chance, and what came after Bill Shankly, and they are all bigger than we are, and the people will understand in the end that this was a fantastic time and we all enjoyed it like hell.”

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