Michael Owen sets realistic Arne Slot target for first Liverpool season

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes Arne Slot needs to be at least challenging for trophies in his first season at Anfield.

The Dutchman gave his first interview as the club’s new head coach earlier this week, having of course been announced as Jurgen Klopp’s successor. It won’t be long until he’s taking charge of the Reds for the first time, with the 2024/25 Premier League season less than two months away now.

Liverpool has learned its fixtures for Slot’s first campaign in charge, with his first competitive game coming away at newly-promoted Ipswich in August.

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Slot will be tasked with continuing the work of Klopp, who transformed the Reds’ fortunes after arriving at Anfield in 2015. Having finished third in the German’s final season in charge, and secured an immediate return to the Champions League, Slot will be expected to deliver results immediately.

“It will be tough for him, with expectations and everything else,” Owen told AceOdds (via FourFourTwo) when asked what the realistic expectations of Slot should be in his first season. “I think there need to be signs of playing good football. We’ll see quite early on the style of play and how exciting it is on the eye.

“In the long term, you’d have to think that they have to be competitive. I mean, it’s alright giving managers time, but he does walk into a very good squad already and a very good club that’s very stable at the moment.

“So, say, they come fifth and don’t win a trophy, and saying ‘Oh yeah, it’s just building blocks’, well no, the building blocks have been put in place. I think that winning something obviously would be perfect. If they don’t win anything, they’ve got to be challenging. They’ve got to be in the conversation.”

Owen though believes Slot will be supported by the club’s fans, even if he doesn’t quite hit the ground running. “The one thing with Liverpool is the fans are very, very supportive,” he added.

“There are certain clubs when managers are not doing well, they get on their back or on players' backs.

“You’ll never hear Liverpool fans getting on players’ backs. If you’ve got that red shirt, they support you. OK, it might not work for whatever reason, that’s just life. But Liverpool fans are very loyal. Very loyal to their team, very loyal to their manager.

“As long as everybody’s seen to be trying their best, then he’ll certainly get the backing of everybody at the club.” says: It’s hard to really gauge what the expectations should be for Slot in his first season at Liverpool. Klopp has left a very good squad for him, albeit with some obvious areas to improve.

It’s a big change for a lot of the players who have spent so long working under Klopp, and that may take some time to get used to. Having shown they are capable of competing for trophies last season though, they will be expected to kick, which will raise the stakes for Slot.

A top-four finish is likely the minimum requirement. If he can add any trophies to the mix, then it can certainly be classed as a successful first season in charge.