EPL

Liverpool have to expect change under Slot, says Zenden

By Sports Desk May 21, 2024

Former Liverpool midfielder Boudewijn Zenden admits there will be a change for the Reds under Arne Slot but says the club should be ready to buy into his philosophy.

Liverpool confirmed on Monday that Slot would take over from Jurgen Klopp, who managed his final game at Anfield against Wolves on Sunday.

The Dutchman had already announced that he would be taking the job in a press conference, with Klopp then leading a chant of Slot’s name in his farewell speech.

Slot has reportedly signed a three-year deal and will officially take charge from June 1.

Asked if the former Feyenoord manager can avoid a painful transition when he begins his new job, Zenden said Liverpool need to be prepared for any outcome.

"Well, let's put it this way. Someone said life is like a box of chocolates, you know, you never know what you're going to get until it's there, and it's the same with Slot," he told Stats Perform.

"You know, there's going to be a change. You never know what the change will be like. As I said, there will be a change, that's for sure.

"For example, if you look at Arsenal, what I admire about the Arsenal people in charge is that the beginning of Arteta at Arsenal. I'm sure you remember well, it was painful for the fans, for the people that had the love for the Gunners.

"They stuck to Arteta, they stuck to his vision, his way of playing, and gradually the team that he built, with his philosophy and the players that he took in, that go with that philosophy.

"For me, it's a huge pleasure to see that if you stick to someone, if you stick to the manager, and you're convinced of his ideas, that you see where this will get you.

"There will be a change. Am I afraid? Well, of course, I'm not afraid, concerned, no, I think you have to just live with it.

"I'm sure in Liverpool, they'll keep their head up high when they go through that storm if it's there. But no, it's going to be a change, of course, but when Slot takes over, I hope that it'll go down well."

Slot led Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title in 2023 and was named Eredivisie Manager of the Year on two occasions, while also winning the KNVB Beker this season.

While some have questioned if Slot will be able to deal with the big stars at the club, Zenden does not believe that will be a problem.

"Yeah, but listen, it is what it is. Of course, Feyenoord this is nowhere near the magnitude of Liverpool. Feyenoord is a big club, but Liverpool is a massive club. So, there's certainly the expectations that come with the club," he added.

"Also, when you are in a big club, there are big players with big egos and I think what could help Slot as well is that he used to play himself.

"He knows what's happening in the mind of a player, he knows what happens in the dressing room. So, he knows a little bit about how these things can be done can work out how it works out, but it definitely will be interesting to see how he deals with these different situations.

"I think Jurgen Klopp over the years also had a few, I'm not going say run-ins, but of course, there's been issues, but they've all been solved and taken care of, one or the other."

Related items

  • McKenna relishes 'amazing start' with Ipswich to face Liverpool and Man City McKenna relishes 'amazing start' with Ipswich to face Liverpool and Man City

    Kieran McKenna is relishing the prospect of Ipswich Town starting life in the Premier League with matches against Liverpool and Manchester City.

    Ipswich are back in the top flight after a 22-year absence, having won consecutive promotions from League One and the Championship under McKenna.

    The Premier League fixtures for 2024-25 were announced on Tuesday, with Ipswich discovering they will start their campaign at home to Arne Slot's Liverpool on Saturday August 17.

    Ipswich then play away to champions Man City, the winners of four straight league titles, on Matchday 2.

    Despite being handed a daunting start on paper, McKenna cannot wait to get going.

    "It is a fantastic start," he said to Sky Sports. "Everyone is going to be so excited, two of the biggest clubs in world football with a home start against Liverpool – it brings it all to life and it is an amazing start for us.

    "We are delighted to have a home game first. We know the atmosphere that has been created over the last few years at this stadium and we know it will carry on, even more so this year.

    "It's great to have a home start and to have one of the best teams in the league is for sure a big challenge. 

    "Of course, they have a new manager, but we are not going to underestimate the scale of the challenges we are going to have all season.

    "Certainly, Liverpool will be [a big challenge] on the first day but at the same time the atmosphere is going to be fantastic. The players will be as ready as they possibly can be and it is a game we will really look forward to."

    Ipswich’s success led to McKenna being linked with major jobs at the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United in the aftermath of his team's promotion.

    McKenna ultimately signed a new four-year contract to remain with Ipswich and is now determined to look forward.

    "When you have had the success we have had over the last couple of years then there is going to be interest," said McKenna, who was previously assistant manager at Man Utd.

    "Those are private decisions. In everyone's career, you have to weigh things up and see what's right for you and your family, and things like that. That's a natural process.

    "There's always a professional decision to make but there's also always the personal decision to make.

    "I'm so, so happy to have secured my future here at Ipswich. It's the first year in 22 years back in the Premier League. We're one of the first teams to get a double promotion back to the Premier League in a very long time and I wanted to be part of that.

    "It's going to be an amazing season for the football club and I'm just so excited that I'm going to be the one leading the team out through those fixtures, and we'll work really hard to continue the journey we've been on.

    "Of course those sorts of things happen naturally whenever clubs or players or staff members have success, but everyone is now just looking forward to the season ahead and the challenges we have.

    "The club took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity at 35-years-old and we've had a fantastic couple of years together. It is a wonderful football club that I'm so proud to manage.

    "I know we are going to give a really good account of ourselves."

  • Man City to open Premier League title defence away against Chelsea Man City to open Premier League title defence away against Chelsea

    Manchester City will begin their Premier League title defence with a testing trip to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend.

    Pep Guardiola's side have already won a historic four straight titles and will begin their pursuit of a fifth consecutive crown with a tough away match on Sunday August 18 against a team now managed by Enzo Maresca.

    Man City have won their opening Premier League match in 12 of the last 13 seasons, though the exception was an away game in London when they lost 1-0 to Tottenham in 2021-22.

    This will be the first time in 53 years that Chelsea have begun a top-flight campaign with a match against the reigning champions. They last did that in 1971, losing to Arsenal at Highbury.

    The Premier League fixtures for 2024-25 were unveiled on Tuesday.

    Arsenal narrowly missed out to Man City in each of the last two seasons and Mikel Arteta's men discovered they will start at home to Wolves on Saturday August 17.

    It is Manchester United and Fulham who will open the season on Friday August 16, with the FA Cup holders playing at home in an evening fixture.

    Arne Slot's tenure as Liverpool manager starts with a trip away to play promoted Ipswich Town, who return to the top flight after a 22-year absence, while play-off winners Southampton will face Newcastle United at St James' Park.

    The opening weekend concludes on Monday August 19 as Leicester City host Tottenham in a difficult start to the Foxes' Premier League return.

    There are some other notable matches taking place in the early weeks of the season, with Arsenal away to Aston Villa in the two teams' second match of the campaign.

    The Gunners also have back-to-back away matches against Tottenham and Man City in September, meaning they will have had road games against three of the top five sides from last season inside the first five matchweeks.

    Man Utd, meanwhile, are due to face Liverpool at Old Trafford on August 31 in the standout fixture of Matchday 3.

  • Hector, Harding eager to make mark on Jamaica's Copa America campaign Hector, Harding eager to make mark on Jamaica's Copa America campaign

    As Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz gear up for their highly anticipated Copa America campaign, two players, Michael Hector and Wes Harding, find themselves at different junctures of their international careers. Despite their varied experiences and career timelines, both England-born defenders are eager to leave a significant mark on Jamaica's journey in the tournament.

    Hector has been a stalwart in the Reggae Boyz setup for over a decade in which he paraded his skills at three Concacaf Gold Cup tournaments –2015, 2019, 2021 –and he is now on the cusp of making his third Copa America outing.

    In fact, Hector, known for his versatility and composure, is the only player in Heimir Hallgrimsson’s current squad, who has the privilege of being a part of three Copa America squads over the years.

    “Obviously my first Copa America appearance was my debut and I’ll never forget that. Obviously, massive games, great atmosphere and I don’t get to appreciate it much, but when you’re in a tournament, you obviously know how big it is with the countries that are playing in it, so it is a special tournament to be a part of,” Hector said in an interview with Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media, on Monday.

    As he reflected on the journey, which has been marked by consistent performances and a deep-rooted commitment to the country, Hector also shared his excitement about their prospects on this occasion.

    The 31-year-old’s leadership and defensive prowess will be crucial for Jamaica, as they rub shoulders with some of the most formidable teams in South America, as well their usual foes from Concacaf. His ability to read the game, coupled with his calm presence on the field, provides the Reggae Boyz with a solid defensive foundation.

    “For me, every cap I got, every time I can have a chance to represent this country, it's an honour and I always try do my best. The journey has been special, but it has not ended. Hopefully, there's a lot more special moments to come, special nights, and special days, but, it's been a fantastic journey, one that I always treasure and want to be a part of for longer,” Hector noted.

    Michael Hector challenges Lionel Messi during the 2015 Copa America.

    Though only two caps into his international career, Harding, like Hector, is determined to play a key role in Jamaica's campaign, aiming to do his teammates and family proud on his long-awaited return.

    “It's amazing to be back. It's been a while, over two years now, so, I’m over the moon. It's been a long, gruelling time waiting, watching from the distance, so, when he [Hallgrimsson] called me, I was really excited," said Harding, who made his debut against Serbia in 2021.

    At 27, Harding, known for his speed and aerial ability, is also rated as a strong, aggressive, and tenacious player, who can contribute to Hallgrimsson’s team in the right back or centre back positions.

    With Copa America representing a unique opportunity for Harding to again showcase his talent on an international stage against some of the world's best teams, he is ready to navigate the challenges to come.

    Jamaica's Reggae Boyz will open against Mexico on Saturday.

    "Yeah, of course, that first time (I represented Jamaica) was beautiful. I remember playing really well, I really enjoyed it, and then obviously the last time is Panama, which was so long ago as well. But, I'm just really excited to be here,” Harding beamed with delight.

    “It feels good to be back with a squad. I know a lot of the players, played against them as well, so, we've got a really good squad here and I am really looking forward to it. As I said, it (Copa America) is a big thing. This is, like the Euros (European Championships) over this side of the world, so, yeah, it is really amazing to be in, and I can't wait to get started,” the Millwall FC man said with an air of confidence.

    The Reggae Boyz, who are set to open their Group B account against perennial rivals Mexico on Saturday, will be aiming to be more formidable than they were in the recent World Cup qualifying fixtures.

    To do that, they will have to display indomitable spirit and resilience, especially as they chase history, of not only securing a point or win, but more importantly, possibly progressing beyond the group stages on this occasion. Venezuela and Ecuador are the other teams in the group at the tournament being hosted by the United States.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.