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Guardiola leaves, Salah replaced and Wirtz signs – Liverpool’s three-year plan to topple Man City

Liverpool manager Arne Slot
-Credit: (Image: Geert van Erven/Soccrates/Getty Images)


Liverpool are entering into a fresh new era at Anfield with Arne Slot officially starting work as head coach at the end of the week.

There will likely be some trepidation at what is to come with Jurgen Klopp exiting the club and a relatively unknown quantity taking charge. However, all the statistics point towards the two men favouring similar styles of football which will only be beneficial for the transition period.

Factors away from Merseyside also point to a changing of the guard coming in the Premier League and thus in three years, it could be Liverpool dominating English football. The ECHO has set out a plan for how the Reds could do this.

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Slot eases into Anfield role

Arne Slot has some big boots to fill. Jurgen Klopp not only brought trophies to Anfield during his nine years at the helm, but he also helped the club rediscover its soul after a turbulent few years prior. It isn't a given that his successor will be able to lead a seamless transition.

With that in mind, sticking by Slot and allowing him time to get his feet under the table and implement his own ideas will be crucial if Liverpool are to have long-term success. Expectations should be lowered for the Dutchman's first campaign outside his home country but you would hope certain goals will be ticked off the list.

A top-four finish and a cup run should be heralded as a good season for Slot with his second campaign being the one where he could push on for more glory. By the time we enter the third year of this plan, the former Feyenoord boss should have a clear understanding of the Premier League and what it will take to win it.

Man City suffer post-Guardiola decline

Without Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, it is clear Klopp's list of accomplishments would have been longer. The Catalonian has presided over an era of dominance at the Etihad Stadium but reports over the weekend suggested his tenure in the North West could end when his contract expires in 2025.

Should he depart at the end of next season, there's every chance a Manchester City-sized vacuum will appear at the top of the Premier League and Liverpool will hopefully be in a healthy position to fill it. Arsenal will also have a say in that, of course, but the Reds will be at least a year further along their process than City would be if forced to change manager next summer.

If we were to speculate further, it should also be noted that the Cityzens have the small matter of an FFP hearing to contend with as they face 115 charges of financial irregularity. City deny wrongdoing and are confident of being cleared, but if they're found guilty, it could lead to a rocky period indeed for the English champions.

Salah and Van Dijk are replaced

Key to success at Liverpool over the next three years is how the Reds perform in the summer transfer windows. This will be as much about keeping players as it will be selling them.

Keeping players like Trent Alexander-Arnold for the challenge will help create a familiar base from which the club can move forward. Some first-team members will need to be replaced in the near future too like Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

How they replace them may not be a concern for this summer but the plans should be put in place now to avoid trouble down the line. Crysencio Summerville and Leny Yoro look like ideal candidates who could be targeted this summer with a view to taking their place from 2025 onwards.

Liverpool land their dream signing

The signing of Salah from Roma in 2017 was era-defining, and arguably as significant as the appointment of Klopp himself two years earlier. While the German manager's first 18 months at Anfield had significant promise - namely reaching a European final and a return to Champions League - the real success came when the Egyptian moved to Merseyside.

Salah and Klopp led Liverpool to a Champions League and Premier League crown in the years that followed, not that Reds fans need reminding. If Slot wants to emulate that success, he'll be hoping for an equally ambitious signing to help lead the club into a new era. Easier said than done, of course.

So who could that be? Kylian Mbappe would have been the dream, but he's all but certain to head to Real Madrid. His new teammate Rodrygo has been linked with a move to Anfield and would certainly fit the profile, if not the budget. German duo Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala could be more achievable options, while Real Sociedad's Takefusa Kubo and boyhood Liverpool fan Anthony Gordon have also been linked.