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I'm excited about what comes next for Liverpool after Arne Slot answered two big questions

Liverpool head coach Arne Slot during a press conference
-Credit: (Image: Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)


Arne Slot couldn't have done much more.

As he and Liverpool's new sporting director Richard Hughes were introduced to the media on Friday, they spoke eloquently and confidently. No matter the question, there was an assured answer.

There were things that the pair didn't want to speak about. No specifics were given about transfers (as you would expect) and the query about some important upcoming contract negotiations was side-stepped well. At the same time, Slot showed authenticity and when he was asked about his preferred formation, for example, he was willing to challenge the perception.

It had been assumed by many Liverpool fans — for a not altogether clear reason, in truth — that Slot had played a 4-2-3-1 system in the Netherlands. He denied that was the case, though, with a swift putdown, and suggested it was more like a 4-3-3. The reality is that formation makes a lot more sense for the collection of players he will have at Anfield.

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There was no contrived attempt to come up with a genius line or a quotable soundbite. Slot kept things simple, smiled, and generally looked relaxed. And if there is one thing that Liverpool fans would have wanted to see, it is that.

This was a manager who looked comfortable in his surroundings and while Slot arrives with much less of an aura than Jurgen Klopp, he can clearly carry a room. At Anfield, the weight of the manager (or head coach) is heavy but he appears to be able to carry it.

That was one big worry when he arrived. Could he handle the pressure? Without having had a job of a similar stature before, it was impossible to know for sure, but the early signs are clearly very good.

There was an inevitable nod to Klopp right from the off as Slot was asked about how he would define himself, given that the German's first press conference saw him coin the term the Normal One. But the 45-year-old politely came up with a measured response.

Slot is under pressure to succeed on Merseyside
Slot is under pressure to succeed on Merseyside -Credit:Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

"When Jurgen arrived, he was the normal one," Slot said. "But when he left, it was the impression he left behind. He said he was the normal one but the fans see him differently. What he did for the club was more than normal."

That is another box that Slot is already ticking. At Liverpool, there will always be a look to the glory days of the past — but the Dutchman is under no illusions that he must also be his own man. He has made that clear on multiple occasions now, outlining that while he was signed up to provide continuity, he will not try to be Klopp 2.0.

Slot and Klopp are similar in style and ideals but they are not identical. The group of players that the former inherits is well suited to what he wants to achieve, but also ready for some tweaks and variations. It is clear not only that Slot should be able to provide that and freshen things up, but also that he raring to get started with tackling that challenge.

As Slot made himself a little more at home at the AXA Training Centre on day one of pre-season, he left a positive impression. There is much work to do and results and trophies are ultimately what he will be judged on, but it was a couple of good steps in the right direction right from the off. If anyone had concerns, they should already be being alleviated.