Arne Slot has four immediate Liverpool decisions to make with Mohamed Salah just one dilemma

Arne Slot walks along the touchline ahead of Feyenoord's game against Excelsior, his final game before taking charge of Liverpool
Arne Slot has been confirmed as Liverpool's new head coach -Credit:Getty Images

The Jürgen Klopp era is officially over at Liverpool. Beyond that stretches a vast unknown, after not far off a decade under the German's leadership.

There was no fairytale ending in terms of trophies, but that did not to stop Liverpool from providing a storybook goodbye for the man who has almost single-handedly restored the Reds to greatness. Ending the long wait for a Premier League title, he also ascended the Champions League summit, making the final on two further occasions.

Those are some big shoes for Arne Slot to fill, with the Dutchman now confirmed as Klopp's replacement, being named as new head coach. Klopp admitted that perhaps Liverpool had made things a little easier by showing their flaws over the last few weeks, but that won't massively change the expectations on the former Feyenoord boss.

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Before he worries about any of that big-picture stuff, however, there are numerous things he'll need to address right from the start of his Liverpool tenure. From practical tactics issues to big transfer calls, he won't have much time to fret about how he's measuring up to Klopp.

So what's going to be awaiting Slot in the manager's in-tray? Two of our writers have had their say, and you can add yours in the comments section below the article.

"Salah and Núñez are two immediate questions" - Matt Addison

Keep or sell Salah? There is no doubt about it: Mohamed Salah has not been at his best in 2024. But he still has a goal every other game in the Premier League in that time so the criticism has been slightly over the top.

At the same time, though, his spat with Jürgen Klopp on the London Stadium touchline hardly cooled talk that it might be the time to move on. Inevitably, his future remains up for debate.

While he won't be the only one in charge of making a decision on what happens, Slot will arrive with a big question to answer. Even if Salah starts scoring regularly again in the final three matches of the season and the Klopp argument is forgotten, his contract situation is still lurking in the background.

Should Liverpool cash in? There shouldn't really be too much of an argument for that. But there is more of a decision to be made than there really ever been before. It would be bold if Liverpool lost both Klopp and Salah in one summer, but right now, it can't be definitively ruled out.

The Núñez conundrum Darwin Núñez is a real conundrum. The Uruguayan is anything but clinical and in the last few games of the season, offered almost nothing — not even his usual chaos without end product. Only Salah had more goals and assists than him this season for Liverpool, though, and a total of 18 and 13 respectively in all competitions really doesn't sound too bad.

It wouldn't take much of an uptick for Núñez to hit really world-class numbers in terms of scoring. Even had he netted just one or two more this season, Liverpool might still have a chance of winning the Premier League title. Maybe then, though, you could argue that when the margins are that fine, the Reds can't rely on him. You end up going around in circles.

The biggest question, for me, is this: who can Liverpool get that would be better? Suggestions recently emerged via The Times of Christopher Nkunku being an alternative Liverpool considered when Núñez arrived. But since he moved to Chelsea, he has only made seven appearances because of a series of injuries. There is a real dearth of world-class number nines out there and even Erling Haaland isn't perfect.

"Issues in attack and midfield to resolve" - James Martin

Gakpo and Díaz finishing question It's not just Darwin Núñez misfiring in the Liverpool attack. He has been the scapegoat, and that's probably fair enough given that he was signed at some expense to be a free-scoring number nine, but finishing has deserted most of the front line.

Diogo Jota stands out as a clinical finisher, but his fitness issues are well-documented. Salah has some credit in the bank (although it's far from a straightforward contract call), even if he's struggled to find the net lately, but it's the other two forwards whom Slot must assess.

He could really enjoy working with Cody Gakpo, potentially restoring him to the left-wing berth where he thrived at PSV. But there's no escaping the fact that he has not been a poacher in his time at Liverpool, failing to convert at the desired rate.

Meanwhile, Luis Díaz makes a lot of things happen, but goals are not really one of them at the moment. His finishing is more or less on par with that of Núñez, and while it's slightly more forgivable for a winger, it still isn't ideal.

Can Slot get the best out of Díaz and Gakpo, or does he need to make some ruthless calls? One thing's for sure, it's certainly not just Núñez who warrants assessment.

Is a specialist defensive midfielder needed? Meanwhile, in midfield, Slot must decide whether he wants to wade into the transfer market for a new defensive midfielder. The Wataru Endō hype has died down a little, and while he has already proved to be an astute purchase, he's clearly not the long-term answer.

The question, then, is whether the Feyenoord boss sees Alexis Mac Allister in that role. It's a tricky one, because Mac Allister has impressed there this season. He has exerted influence from deep, and has been far more adept defensively than many expected. Yet he has shown in flashes more recently that he can be even more effective higher up the pitch.

Ultimately, a specialist probably makes sense. Liverpool clearly envisaged buying one alongside Mac Allister, having gone in for Moisés Caicedo. But Slot will be able to form his own opinions before long.

An original version of this article was first published on April 28. It has been updated following the confirmation of Slot's appointment as the new Liverpool boss.