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Arne Slot already has one major dilemma even before biggest Liverpool transfer priority addressed

Arne Slot points during a training session.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Ed van de Pol/Soccrates/Getty Images)


The Liverpool players will arrive back for pre-season with a new head coach in charge. For the first summer since 2015, it won't be Jürgen Klopp leading the sessions, but Arne Slot.

With a new manager at the helm ('head coach', technically, yes, but we're going to use the term 'manager' interchangeably!) that will mean a clean slate for every Liverpool player. Their performances during the time that Slot has on the training field before the new campaign kicks off will determine the pecking order for the first Premier League match.

One of the key decisions that will need to be made is who starts at center-back alongside Virgil van Dijk. Assuming the Dutchman is fit, it is near-certain that he will start (and captain the Reds) on the opening day.

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Who is alongside him, though, is up for debate. Two of our Liverpool.com writers have had their say and you can add your own thoughts in the comments box underneath the article.

"Jarell Quansah is in pole position" - Matt Addison

Jarell Quansah is the man in possession of the shirt at the moment. He ended the season superbly and he is ahead of Ibrahima Konaté at the moment, for me. It would take a big summer for the Frenchman to change my mind on that.

Quansah deservedly got a senior England call-up this week and he has not looked out of place at the heart of the Liverpool defense this season. On the ball, he is excellent. Off it, he rarely puts a foot wrong.

His ceiling is huge and Quansah has done nothing to say that he shouldn't keep the starting berth just yet. There will be plenty of minutes for everyone next season with the Champions League returning — and the purchasing of another defender this summer is the number one priority — but the 20-year-old is my pick for the time being. He's done exactly what you would want him to do.

"Ibrahima Konaté is the man" - Andrew Beasley

Liverpool needs to sign a right-sided center-back to replace Joël Matip. It should be the priority for recruitment this summer. Joe Gomez no longer plays the position though Slot might change that — while Konaté is sadly injury-prone and Quansah remains raw as you would expect.

Of the three existing options, I would pick Konaté to accompany Virgil as it stands. His form undoubtedly tailed off towards the end of this season but it’s easy to imagine him having a resurgence in a more defensively solid side, and Slot’s history suggests he will be looking to establish one.

The Reds’ most used central defensive duo this season was Konaté and Van Dijk, who conceded a goal every 91 minutes across their 22.3 per 90s spent together. This is a better record than Quansah managed with Virgil — one goal against every 74 minutes.

While the youngster shows tremendous promise, Slot’s quickest route to a watertight back line will be to pick a player who has played in the Champions League and World Cup finals. Experience counts for a lot and Ibou’s your man, Arne.