Arne Slot, Liverpool’s new head coach, talks about his enthusiasm for his first challenge in England

Arne Slot, Liverpool's new head coach, talks about his enthusiasm for his first challenge in England Career

Since the official announcement of Jurgen Klopp’s departure, Liverpool have been tracking young, established European leaders. While names such as Xabi Alonso and Ruben Amorim have been excited, Feyenoord manager Arne Slot has been the white-hot favourite.

In Holland, he won the domestic league and lifted the cup trophy. The 45-year-old leader, who has convinced Liverpool’s leaders in every aspect of his game, including style of play, young development and character, will take charge at Anfield as “head coach”.

The manager is enthusiastic about his new challenge in the Premier League, and in his first interview with Liverpool, he reflected on his role as head coach and how he spent his holiday period, and spoke of his excitement about his new job.

Congratulations and welcome to Liverpool. Can you tell us how you feel at this moment?

“I would say energised because of the holiday I had. Excited, really looking forward to the new challenge which is ahead of me. We are, of course, looking at the training ground, which is fantastic, so there are a lot of things to look forward to. The team is coming back in a few weeks and yeah, [I am] looking forward to a new start after a nice period I had at Feyenoord.”

There has been a bit of time between you being announced as Liverpool’s head coach and now – was that deliberate from your point of view?

“I think it is, because of a few reasons. First and foremost, maybe the farewell of Jürgen, which was really special from what I saw. It was on the same day I left Feyenoord as well but I did see a few things and afterwards there was even a few more farewells from what I saw, so I think it was fair to him and to the club and to the supporters to wait a bit and then to come in.”

“Apart from that, I went on holiday as you probably can see! And yeah, I think now is a good moment to arrive here and talk to you, but let’s be clear: I don’t start today, I’ve been in a lot of contact with staff members already – from people who are working here to the new staff members that are coming in – and, of course, almost every day Richard [Hughes] and me are calling each other because we have to talk. This is also a very important phase for the new season, to make sure the team is ready, and we have to play in the pre-season. So, a lot of things have been done but more in the background and now I am sitting here in front of you, I think it’s a good moment to do it now for the few reasons I just gave you.”

Do you find it easy to switch off during your holidays?

“No! I don’t think a manager, if it is me or anyone else, switches off, but it’s been a good few weeks because I could look back at a very nice time at my former club Feyenoord and really look forward to going to a club like Liverpool. So, there have been summers where it hasn’t been this good because that is also the life of a former football player and a manager, but this summer was really nice because of the fact that I left Feyenoord in a good place and I am coming to a club that Jürgen left in a good place. So, yeah, it has already been a good summer.”

It is a big change but change is exciting too, isn’t it?

“It is, it is. I am wearing the new jersey and, of course, there is change but a lot of things are still the same as well. I think the players are still the same, which is probably the most important thing because, of course, we as managers sometimes tend to think that we have a lot of influence, which we can have, but in the end it comes down to the players. And I think the fans are still the same so many things are still the same and yeah, we are going to try to work on what Jürgen left behind and we will see a lot of similar things. But, of course, I bring my own things to the table as well and I think that’s also what is expected of me.”

Your official title is ‘head coach’. What does that mean for you?

“For me, it is normal because this is the way it is in Europe and in Holland. I don’t think there is much of a change between a head coach and a manager, it’s just that by being a head coach I can go in fully to the things I would like to do. So, work with the team, prepare the team in the best possible way, and me and Richard are going to work together when it comes to transfers but not only the two of us – there is a big backroom staff included in this as well. I think for me it is the way I have worked always and it for me is the ideal way of working because I can use the most of my time by working with the team and the time that is left will probably be a bit for the family and a bit to talk with Richard about how we can strengthen the team. But we already have a really strong team.”