I spent a week with Arne Slot - I’m surprised Liverpool want him but it makes sense

Arne Slot could be poised to swap Rotterdam for Merseyside
Arne Slot could be poised to swap Rotterdam for Merseyside -Credit:NESimages/Geert van Erven/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Former Liverpool attacker Dirk Kuyt insists Arne Slot will be a good fit at Anfield, assuring supporters that he possesses the right assets to be a success.

Liverpool have reached an agreement with Feyenoord for Slot to replace Jurgen Klopp as manager. The former Feyenoord under-19 coach has contact with Slot due to his son playing in the academy. He allowed Kuyt to shadow him for a week before last year’s Eredivisie title triumph, a feat which was highly revered in Holland.

The achievement was so impressive given the 45-year-old had been forced to rebuild his side after losing a plethora of key players in the summer, including top scorer Luis Sinisterra, who was sold to Leeds United - a club that was linked with Slot upon Jesse March’s sacking last year.

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Slot stayed put despite further rumours with the Tottenham job and has lifted the Dutch Cup this season. He could now be in for the opportunity of a lifetime. “Arne loves the game and thinks about football 24/7,” Kuyt told The Athletic.

“That passion shines through when he speaks. He’s always studying other teams and thinking about how his team can improve and evolve. Tactically, he’s very strong. What people like most in Holland, where his reputation is so high, is that he has his own vision, his style of play.”

Two-time Eredivisie manager of the year Slot has a playing style more akin to Klopp than Amorim does, and is not afraid to blood youth. Kuyt, now 43, says the manager exudes the type of persona that inspires players both young and old, albeit is not prepared to shoehorn him into a specific mould.

“Nowadays managers always get compared. Is it the Jurgen Klopp style? Is it the Jose Mourinho style? Is it the Pep Guardiola style?

“The answer is that Slot has his own style. He doesn’t copy anyone. He knows exactly what he wants and he believes in it. It’s attractive, attacking football.

“He likes to play an aggressive defence, high intensity, with the game played in the opponent’s half, but it’s his way. It’s different from Klopp but a lot of the principles are the same.”

Dirk Kuyt and Arne Slot celebrate Feyenoord winning the 2022/23 Eredivisie title
Dirk Kuyt and Arne Slot celebrate Feyenoord winning the 2022/23 Eredivisie title -Credit:Photo by Dennis Bresser/Soccrates/Getty Images

Speaking more about his week with Slot, Kuyt - now manager of Beerschot - added: “What struck me about Arne was his ability to make the players believe in what he believes in. I talked to some of them when I was there and they all spoke so highly about him.

“They love how he organises the training sessions and how he gets his ideas across. He’s an excellent communicator and man manager.”

All that said, Kuyt was as taken aback as most were to discover Liverpool had made Slot their primary choice. Xabi Alonso and then Amorim had been touted as frontrunners to succeed Klopp - Slot’s name has only properly thrown into the picture within the last week.

“The news that Liverpool had decided to go for Slot came out of the blue,” Kuyt admitted. “I was surprised because since Jurgen said he would be leaving at the end of the season, other names had been mentioned as possible contenders.

“But it makes a lot of sense. I haven’t spoken to Arne but if everything is agreed, Liverpool have made a very good choice. He’s ready for the next step in his career. You can’t compare Feyenoord with Liverpool but Arne is used to dealing with pressure and high expectations.”

Kuyt added: “Arne wouldn’t go anywhere unless he really believed in the project. If he says ‘yes’ then it’s because he’s convinced he can do great things in the job he’s taking on. Arne is the type of guy who would say ‘no’ to any big club if he had any doubts.”