Home » ARTICLES » How Arne Slot could reinvent Mohamed Salah at Liverpool? – TKT Opinion

How Arne Slot could reinvent Mohamed Salah at Liverpool? – TKT Opinion

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By Siddharth Juyal

Liverpool legend Mohamed Salah could benefit the most next season under the tactics of new head coach Arne Slot

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has a crucial role next season as new head coach Arne Slot succeed Jurgen Klopp. Klopp is leaving a strong squad for Slot to inherit while also leaving the club in a strong position.

After Klopp announced that he was departing the club, Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group implemented a systematic plan for restructuring. They reappointed former sporting director Michael Edwards in a new role as a CEO of Football, overseeing the footballing operation.

Edwards swiftly appointed Richard Hughes as the new sporting director and thoroughly assessed Klopp’s successor. Their eventual search led them to then-Feyenoord manager Slot, who fit most of the criteria they desired for the role.

From De Kuip to The Kop: Arne Slot to take charge of Liverpool on June 1, 2024.
New Liverpool head coach Arne Slot developed many talented players while achieving great success in Eredivisie.

Klopp excelled in managing and inspiring his team while developing young players beyond their estimated potential. The legendary manager easily brought the staff, players and fans together in unity through his natural charm and honesty.

If anyone starts researching Slot, the first thing they will hear about him is his impressive communication ability. Slot has also worked in an environment which is similar to Liverpool where his side competed with financially powerful rivals.

Slot has worked under a similar restricted budget as Klopp, emphasizing the development of young players or low-reputation talents. The 45-year-old built players such as Santiago Gimenez, Teun Koopmeiners, Mats Wieffer and David Hanko while keeping his team competitive.

Liverpool are hoping that the Dutchman would use the Liverpool academy in a similar way that Klopp has done. However, it is equally important to get the best out of the players currently in the senior team.

The anti-climatic end to the last season: Exposed vulnerabilities and concern over the performance of Mohamed Salah

Liverpool enjoyed an impressive season under Klopp as most of his signings for the “Liverpool 2.0” adjusted promisingly. Despite the injury crisis, controversial officiating and poor scheduling, the Reds marched forward with consistency while attempting to win trophies.

However, Liverpool suffered a sudden dip in form after the March international break that cost them three major trophies. The anti-climactic end to the season exposed certain issues that the Reds faced throughout the season but somehow managed earlier.

Liverpool have conceded complacent goals while their attack has faced criticism for being too wasteful in finishing easy chances. Salah’s form became the biggest cause for concern as the 31-year-old failed in front of goals and overall contribution.

Klopp made tactical changes for Salah to compensate for his slight decline in agility and pace to take opponents one-on-one. The 31-year-old relied more on linkup plays while staying wide in the middle phase of the possession.

He dropped inwards late when Liverpool’s attack reached the final third, using well-timed movements to create chances or score goals. During the drop in form, the Egypt captain’s struggle with finishing exposed the tactical sacrifice Klopp made to play him.

The right flank failed to participate in the attack during those matches as Liverpool ran out of morale and ideas. Nevertheless, the 31-year-old scored 25 goals and provided 14 assists from 44 matches in all competitions for Liverpool last season.

Salah would play in a completely different tactical setup under Slot despite the Dutchman’s use of a similar philosophy as Klopp. The tactical shift could actually benefit Salah if we compare his shift in role with what Slot prefers, making Slot’s arrival a blessing in disguise.

The tactics of Arne Slot and how it could benefit Salah

Slot prefers a slow tempo, relying on buildup from the backline than a direct counter-attacking style like Klopp (via datamb/picture below). The 45-year-old prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation as well as the 4-3-3 formation which uses inside forwards in attack.

Statistical comparison between Liverpool and Feyenoord based on their performance in all competitions during the 2023-24 season. (Credit: DataMB)
Statistical comparison between Liverpool and Feyenoord based on their performance in all competitions during the 2023-24 season. (Credit: DataMB)

Salah would continue to play in his preferred right-winger role under the Dutchman while continuing with last season’s tactics. The emphasis on the buildup play would help the Egyptian to rely solely on his current strengths.

A little thing that a lot of friends forget is that Liverpool have suffered from wastefulness under Klopp. Even when Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino played for the Reds, they wasted plenty of clear-cut chances.

The heavy-metal football under Klopp that relies on directness and high tempo on and off the ball could be responsible. As players stay on adrenaline to press the opposition continuously and actively start a direct attack, their composure suffers.

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Furthermore, Liverpool stopped using a proper number 10 since Coutinho left the club, something that troubled the Reds against the low-block teams. Slot uses the number 10 a lot alongside two inside forwards and the main striker which could indirectly help Salah more.