Arne Slot given strong backing as £51m winger 'ready to make jump' to Liverpool

Arne Slot has been backed to overcome the "really hard" challenge of following Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool boss - and has been told of one player ready to make the step up to Anfield.

Slot will officially begin his role as head coach with the Reds on Saturday having penned a three-year deal to take over from Klopp, who has left after almost nine years in charge.

The 45-year-old Slot arrives having won the Eredivisie and Dutch Cup with Feyenoord and leading them to their first European final in 20 years.

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And former Liverpool forward Fernando Morientes is confident the Dutchman can build on the foundations laid by his predecessor.

"The challenge is that Klopp has been at Liverpool for so long now, so to come in as the new coach and rise to that challenge will be really hard," he said.

"Slot will want to make sure that Liverpool can still grow and maintain the level of demand and greatness that has been established. But I think he’ll cope and the club will remain great."

With Slot yet to make public his transfer priorities, Liverpool are being linked with an endless stream of potential targets. One such name is 26-year-old attacking midfielder Dani Olmo, who reportedly has a release clause of £51million in his RB Leipzig contract with Manchester City and Barcelona said to be among clubs monitoring his situation.

And Morientes believes the Spain international is ready to take the step up to the Premier League and a team of Liverpool's stature.

"He looks like a big player, and a player who is prepared and ready to make the jump to a team like Liverpool for a chance, because he’s a player who’s grown a lot since the last window, and he’s a sure fixture in the Spanish national team," he said.

"He’s a very smart player too, with a lot of resources to hurt defences, and he’s so good, here in Spain everyone would like to see him in a big team here. But outside of Spain he’s certainly a player who’ll surely be one of the great Spanish players on the wider European football scene should he move away."

During his 18 months at Anfield in the mid-2000s, Morientes played alongside Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard and won the FA Cup with the duo in 2006. Both midfielders have since moved into management, with Alonso this season having led Bayer Leverkusen to the Bundesliga and German Cup double while reaching the Europa League final.

Gerrard won the Scottish championship with Rangers but struggled at Aston Villa and spent this season as boss of Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, where his team finished sixth.

But Morientes - speaking on behalf of BoyleSports, who offer the latest Champions League betting - is convinced Gerrard will succeed in the dugout.

"What doesn’t surprise me is that the two of them have become coaches, because they had great personalities as players, and a lot of intelligence to play football the way they did," said the former Spain international.

"So as coaches that talent will translate, and it’s true that Xabi Alonso has been incredible from the beginning, but I think Gerrard also has that intuition as a coach, and I think they’re both going to have great futures.

"Obviously drawing attention to what Xabi has done at Bayer Leverkusen makes sense, but it seems to me that Gerrard in the future will be one of the great coaches to come out of England."