Slot: I want my team to be flexible but aggressive

5 Jul 2024
Arne Slot

Liverpool's new head coach outlines his vision for his side after delivering first press conference

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Liverpool's new head coach Arne Slot has outlined the style of play fans can expect from him, saying he wants his players to play freely but also be aggressive.

In the Dutchman's first press conference since his appointment at Anfield, Slot discussed a number of topics ranging from team formations, wanting an England v Netherlands semi-final in UEFA EURO 2024 and facing Pep Guardiola.

Slot also spoke about whether he would give young players a first-team chance as they were under previous Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, while discussing potential moves in the transfer market.

"I was hoping if people looked at my team, it wasn't 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. It's a lot of freedom to take different positions," Slot said on the club's website.

"A lot of freedom when we have the ball. When we don't have the ball, we want to be really aggressive. I wouldn't say I prefer 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. If you asked me, I'd have said we played 4-3-3 [at Feyenoord]. Full-backs have different roles."

'Young players give energy into a club'

Liverpool suffered a number of injuries to senior players in 2023/24, with Klopp handing youngsters such as Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley a first-team opportunity.

Slot revealed that he would have no hesitation calling on younger players this season if he feels that they are good enough.

"I like to see good players," he explained. "If they are old or young, it doesn't matter that much. It's always good for a team when young players come through. It brings energy to a club.

"In the end, it's all about the quality. They did really well. If they continue doing so, there will be a chance they will play as well."

Looking forward to facing Pep, but Ipswich more important

For the first time in Guardiola's tenure at Manchester City, the Spaniard will be face a different head coach at Liverpool, and although Slot discussed how eager he is to face him, he also added that the Reds' first match of the new season at promoted Ipswich Town is more important.


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"It's normal that if you work in such a league that there are many good managers which you're going to face, and Pep is one of them, that's for sure," Slot said.

"I'm looking forward to working here but not specifically [for] playing against Man City because there are many nice teams we are going to face, starting with Ipswich, of course, which is at this moment the most important one.

"It's important for us to improve. You can expect other teams to become better. That's the aim we have."

'Hopefully Netherlands play England in the semi-finals'

Should England and Netherlands win their respective EURO 2024 quarter-final ties against Switzerland and Turkey, then both nations will face each other in the semi-finals, an outcome that Slot is hoping for.

"I assume Virgil [van Dijk] wants to win the Euros! He will come back and all these players want to win," said Slot.

"They all have this hunger to win. I'm hoping [Cody] Gakpo will step up even more! Especially in the semi-finals but first [in] the quarter-finals.

"I'm hoping to see them playing England in the semi-finals. So, we are hoping and expecting him to do even better! No, Cody has a very good tournament, like his last one - the [FIFA] World Cup was really good for him as well. He's been impressive until now, and I can only hope for him that he can continue doing so in the upcoming games."

No specific numbers on incomings

When asked about transfers, Slot was relaxed about Liverpool bring in new faces, saying he has inherited a good team and adding that the players who were brought in last summer will improve.

"No, not in specific numbers. We've inherited a good team. With the way I look at football, I can see how important it is to work on a daily basis," Slot added.

"Not all players have the same level they have at their clubs. There is already a really good team. Few good signings last year. Normally you see things will improve."

Sporting director Richard Hughes also spoke about potential dealings and said that because of major international tournaments, any possible Liverpool business may not occur until August.

"Naturally when there are major international tournaments, the attention is there. After the flurry in June, it will calm down a little now," said Hughes.

"When August starts, we've had more times to work with players, opinions will be more set. You may see a situation in August, there is a hurry to get things done."

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