What are the mistakes that Arne Slot can learn from failed Liverpool managers?

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Arne Slot’s life will never be the same again after the Dutchman was appointed as Liverpool’s new manager. Essentially, there will be life before Liverpool and life after Liverpool. How long and successful the intervening years are before Slot leaves the club will depend largely on the strength of the relationship that the 45-year-old builds with Liverpool fans. 

So, what mistakes can Slot learn from failed Liverpool managers in his quest to cultivate an enduring bond with the Anfield faithful?


Brendan Rodgers came agonisingly close to delivering Liverpool’s first league trophy in 24 years, only for a Steven Gerrard slip against Chelsea to ultimately set in motion a sequence of events that would see the Reds snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the title race.

Despite this valiant effort, the Northern Irishman would eventually leave Anfield with fans harbouring misgivings about Rodgers’ authenticity. 

The simple reason might be attributed to the sound bites often provided by Rodgers during his three-year tenure. Indeed, statements such as ‘you train dogs’ and ‘I prefer to educate players,’ made in his first month at Anfield, raised initial red flags. 

A six-part fly-on-the-wall documentary titled ‘Being: Liverpool’ did little to win fans over after that, especially when cameras revealed a large portrait of Rodgers in his own home.

As humorous as it may seem now, the reality is that Liverpool fans will always be wary of overt self-admiration. In essence, Slot must demonstrate disarming humility to connect with a fanbase on the lookout for false prophets. 

See life through the eyes of Liverpool fans 

Roy Hodgson was asked if he had experienced any ground that was louder than Anfield after a win during his ill-fated spell as the manager of Liverpool, he responded that he thought ‘Old Trafford was excellent.’

Out of all the things that Hodgson could have said to that question, he inexplicably picked the answer that was likely to do the most damage to his relationship with Liverpool fans. Of course, this isn’t because Hodgson is a spiteful person. 

On the contrary, the 76-year-old is by all accounts, a thoroughly decent man. Rather, his problem was that he was not looking at life through the eyes of a Liverpool fan. 

Slot has to immerse himself in the culture of the City of Liverpool, and his words need to reflect what fans care about. Indeed, the Dutchman must fight on behalf of supporters and be an ambassador for what makes Liverpool revered.

Being the best is no guarantee of success 

Looking back, it’s perhaps easy to ask why Liverpool appointed these men when the evidence suggested that they would soon get under the skin of supporters. It’s often a case of redeeming features with managers and the good outweighing the bad. In other words, delivering silverware normally allows fans to look past all manners of sin. 

In fairness to Fenway Sports Group (FSG), both men were on a list of the best available coaches in the world at the time. However, even when you can choose from a list of the best things in life, you might not always get exactly what you’re looking for.

For example, you might choose a car from the best-rated list and soon find out that you should have sacrificed comfort for performance. Or you might select a top-rated holiday destination only to realise it doesn’t match your personal preferences. Similarly, you might choose from one of the best online casinos and discover that a smaller opening bonus would have resulted in more ongoing free spin promotions in the future.

While these are varying examples, the wider point is that even if something is highly rated, there is no guarantee it will be a natural fit. Put plainly, Rodgers’ and Hodgson’s disconnect with the club’s values always meant that success would be unlikely.

Slot’s time has come 

Of course, Liverpool went back to shop around on a list of the best managers and found Jürgen Klopp in 2015: the rest, as they say, is history. Now, nine years on, the club has picked Slot from the available options. A city holds its breath to see if the Dutchman will follow the blueprint of success or repeat the mistakes his predecessors made.

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