Premier League • England

Arne Slot told what he must do to avoid Liverpool sack talk as dazzling first signing goes up in flames

Arne Slot is the new Liverpool manager

Arne Slot is the new Liverpool manager

Liverpool manager Arne Slot has been told the minimum expected of him in his first season at Anfield, while reports claim the Dutchman will soon be denied his dream first signing.

Slot faces the pretty formidable task of stepping into Jurgen Klopp’s very sizeable shoes at Anfield with the German departing at the season’s end after a trophy-packed spell on Merseyside. Chosen due to his similar man-management style and tactical approach, Liverpool will hope that in the appointment of Slot they have found a man not just capable of maintaining Klopp’s legacy, but building on it.

Like all new era, however, and especially when replacing a club icon such as Klopp, there is bound to be a drop-off as players, club and manager all adapt to one another.

Slot is already in situ at his office within their Kirkby training base, and while it remains eerily quiet right now with players either on their holidays or away on international duty at the European Championships or Copa America, the Dutchman is putting his plans in place for what he hopes will be a hugely-successful new era.

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Slot’s backroom team has also been finalised over the last few days – a fine way for the 45-year-old to begin his regime.

Arriving as his number two will be trusted Feyenoord lieutenant Sipke Hulshoff, while Ruben Peeters will take on the role of lead physical performance coach and Fabian Otte is due to arrive as head of first-team goalkeeper coaching once his Copa America duties with USA are through.

Arne Slot: Michael Owen tells new Liverpool boss his minimum target

New signings will also be through the door too. TEAMtalk understands that Slot has money at his disposal and is channeling his efforts on two areas in particular – with a left-sided centre-half and a holding midfielder top of his wishlist.

A new attacker, especially if Luis Diaz departs as has been strongly reported in recent days, as well as a new goalkeeper if No 2 Caiomhin Kelleher gets his wish to move on, could also be sought, though the latter two deals are likely to be on an ‘one in, one-out’ basis.

All mixed together, it will certainly be a transitional spell for all associated with the Reds and a drop-off in results would not come as a surprise, especially given theories at just how much Klopp will be missed.

Even so, former Reds striker Michael Owen claims the pressure will be on Slot to deliver from the off. And while judgement will be held off over that initial bedding-in period, the Dutchman has been warned of the minimum expected of him in his first year.

In an interview with FourFourTwo, Owen said: “It will be tough for him, with expectations and everything else. 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.”

Dream first signing hits serious trouble

Owen added: “The one thing with Liverpool is the fans are very, very supportive. 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.”

Loyaly, of course, will only get so far and after delivering two trophies in two years at De Kuip, Slot will hope for more success while on Merseyside.

To kick off his new era, Liverpool had hoped to sign Lille centre-back Leny Yoro as their replacement for impending free agent, Joel Matip.

The teenage star has developed into one of the world’s hottest prospects and has a €60m price tag on his shoulders as a result. That fee would ordinarily be far higher but for the fact Yoro only has 12 months remaining on his contract.

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Confirming the Reds have registered their interest, Fabrizio Romano stated on Saturday: “Liverpool already confirmed their interest to the player side so Liverpool already made some steps on this, but also Liverpool feel that Real Madrid are favourites in this story.

“So Liverpool are there in case something happens between Real Madrid and Leny Yoro.”

But unfortunately for Liverpool, Yoro only has eyes for the Bernabeu and has informed Real Madrid of his desire to join them.

Furthermore, with Nacho Fernandez passing a medical ahead of his switch to Al-Qadsiah, Real Madrid are now in the market for a new centre-back.