Sources: Liverpool eye Slot as Klopp replacement

Liverpool have identified Feyenoord coach Arne Slot as a leading candidate to succeed Jurgen Klopp as manager after cooling their interest in Sporting CP coach Ruben Amorim, sources have told ESPN.

With top target Xabi Alonso last month ruling himself out of the running for a return to the club he represented as a player by choosing to stay with newly crowned Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen, Slot has emerged ahead of Amorim and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi in the race to replace Klopp.

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However, sources have said that Liverpool expect a battle with Barcelona and Bayern Munich to appoint Slot and are therefore planning to continue to assess other candidates.

Klopp, who has won the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool since replacing Brendan Rodgers at Anfield in October 2015, announced in January that he will step down from his position at the end of this season.

Following Klopp’s surprise announcement — the 56-year-old informed Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) of his decision last November — Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan said that the club would take a “data-led” approach to finding a new manager.

Former sporting director Michael Edwards returned to Anfield last month as head of football operations with the responsibility of identifying and hiring Klopp’s successor, and sources have told ESPN that Slot, who guided Feyenoord to the Dutch title last season, has become a strong contender to land the Liverpool job.

Slot, 45, rejected Premier League advances from both Chelsea and Tottenham last season in order to remain at Feyenoord. He signed a new three-year contract with the Rotterdam-based team in May 2023, thereby committing himself to the club until 2026.

Sources have told ESPN that the Liverpool hierarchy, led by Edwards and Hogan, believes that Slot fits all of its criteria in terms of style of play, personality and ability to work within the club’s structure.

There is an acceptance within Anfield that Feyenoord will attempt to hold onto Slot, but there is also a hope that the lure of the Premier League could prompt the former AZ Alkmaar coach to take the opportunity to move to England.

Liverpool are second in the Premier League, level on points with leaders Arsenal, and face a derby clash against Merseyside rivals Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

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