Former Liverpool star who coached against Arne Slot admits surprise at appointment

Bolo Zenden has admitted that he is surprised that Liverpool have chosen Arne Slot to succeed Jurgen Klopp as manager.

The Reds were originally liked heavily with Zenden's former team-mate Xabi Alonso, only for the Spaniard to opt to stay put at Bayer Leverkusen, before Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim appeared to be the next front-runner.

Yet despite such links, Liverpool instead opted for Feyenoord’s Slot, and agreed a deal with the Eredivisie club for the Dutchman late last month.

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Zenden, who made 49 appearances for the Reds over two seasons between 2005 and 2007, has previously crossed paths with Slot in the Eredivisie. The 47-year-old spent seven years at PSV Eindhoven as a coach and assistant manager between 2015 and 2022, during which the soon-to-be Liverpool manager was in charge of SC Cambuur, AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord.

PSV won two Eredivisie titles and a KNVB Cup during Zenden's time on the club's coaching staff, while Slot has lifted both honours himself with Feyenoord over the last two years.

And while Slot faces a daunting prospect to replace Klopp at Anfield, Zenden has told Liverpool what to expect ahead of their looming managerial change.

"Someone said life is like a box full of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get until it’s there,” the former Liverpool midfielder told “And it’s the same with Slot. There’s going to be a change. You never know what the change will be like.

“I guess everybody was a little bit surprised when his name came out of the hat, if you want to call it that, because there were a few favourites.

“He likes to play a pressing game, put pressure on the front, the build-up of the opponent, and the earlier you can win the ball back in the opposite half, the closer you are to the opposition goal.

“Anybody taking over from Klopp at the minute has a huge task ahead of him. But it definitely will be interesting to see how he deals with these situations.”