Arne Slot impresses behind the scenes as £20m midfielder assessed by Liverpool

-Credit: (Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool are edging ever closer to the start of their pre-season schedule under Arne Slot.

The Reds return to action next month in the United States but will reconvene at the AXA Training Centre for some hard yards and double sessions before then, with a return date set for early July.

How many of his key men Slot will have with him on the US tour is something of a mystery right now as the Copa America and European Championship continue into next month but excitement is starting to quietly build ahead of a brand new era at Anfield.

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Here's all the latest off-diary news and tidbits in this week's ECHO notebook.

Gakpo providing food for thought

As one of the poster-boys of football in the Netherlands Cody Gakpo is a player Slot will know more than most in his new Liverpool squad.

The Reds boss recently revealed he had reached out to a handful of his players after starting the role and name-checked his captain Virgil van Dijk as someone he has already held talks with. But given the links, it would not be too much of a leap to suggest Gakpo has also been consulted by his new boss too.

The Liverpool forward has so far enjoyed a productive Euros with Oranje, scoring twice in their three group games and he has caught the eye on the left of the attack, which is where he made his name at PSV Eindhoven prior to his January 2023 move to Merseyside.

Speaking earlier this month, Gakpo made no secret of his belief that the left side is where he feels his best position is, telling De Telegraaf: "As far as I know, I'm focusing on the left winger position here (for Holland).

"I spoke briefly with the national coach (Ronald Koeman) about that a few months ago. What's on my own business card? Left winger But it depends on the trainer where I will be used, also depending on the system of course. I don't have to play there if we don't have a left winger."

Given Gakpo has largely become a star of Dutch football playing off the left and the fact that the position is where Slot will have seen him most regularly when their paths have crossed in the Eredivisie, it would not be too much of a stretch to suggest the new head coach may see a future for him back in the position he admittedly feels most comfortable.

Having spent a large portion of his time under Jurgen Klopp as a centre-forward, could Gakpo now be set to return to the left more consistently? It's something that Slot may be giving some real consideration to as pre-season approaches.

Liverpool relaxed over Morton situation

Tyler Morton is attracting the interest of Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.

The midfielder enjoyed an excellent campaign on loan with Hull City in the Championship last term, which came on the back of a similarly impressive spell with Blackburn Rovers the season previous.

As a result, the German side are keen to continue their long-standing relationship with Liverpool by entering into talks over the Wirral-born midfielder. It's been mooted that Morton would command a fee of around £20m.

The Reds have dealt regularly with RBL in recent years over players like Naby Keita, Ibrahima Konate and Dominik Szoboszlai, while Fabio Carvalho went the other way on loan last summer.

Liverpool are taking a relaxed view to Morton's situation, however, and while there is plenty of interest from Championship clubs, it's thought Slot will want to assess his squad in detail before any significant decisions are made either way. An impressive showing in the United States could lead to a resolution.

Slot impresses early

The early indications are that Slot has settled in well at Liverpool after giving his first official interview as new head coach last week.

The Dutchman's calmness, honesty and affability were cited as notable elements as he took a tour of the AXA Training Centre before his chat with LFCTV last week.

Slot is said to have impressed with his self-assured personality and given he is succeeding a club legend in the shape of Jurgen Klopp, it was retold how he did not seem overly awed by the task of replacing such a celebrated figure.

The task of carrying on from Klopp is no doubt a daunting one but the new head coach is taking it all in his stride, it seems.