Arne Slot urged to sign 'ideal' Premier League star as first Liverpool signing – EXCLUSIVE

Arne Slot has succeeded Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. (Image: Getty)

The legendary Anfield boot room that signified the days when Mark Lawrenson played for Liverpool may be long gone, but the club legend thinks Arne Slot will still find a darkened area to work in before getting down to business this summer. And the former centre-back has already outlined the one player the Dutchman should sign to ensure the Reds challenge at the top end of the Premier League again next season.

Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha has been a revelation the past two years and notably impressed against Liverpool over two legs in the League Cup semi-final.

The Portuguese international was set to move to Bayern Munich for a £55million fee last August before the transfer fell through, and now Lawrenson has urged Slot to pounce so that his new team can properly address the loss of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho last summer.

“I’d try and buy the boy Paulhina at Fulham, he would be ideal in that position for Liverpool if they could get him,” he told Express Sport. “They need a holding midfield player, and another centre back so that’s what should be top of his agenda.”

However, representing Instant Casinos the ex-Irish international, who won five league titles and the European Cup during his playing stint at Liverpool from 1981 to 1988, has dismissed the notion that any kind of overhaul is necessary. In fact, he believes the new man could do worse than keep the basis of what Jurgen Klopp built before ending his tenure.

“I would say the new manager will want to keep everybody,” he added. “He’ll be looking at all the games from last season and probably be in a darkened room for about three weeks. He’ll have to make his mind up early in terms of what he thinks is the best team but there’s not that much to change in all honesty. There’s not that much work to be done.”

Joao Palhinha was on the brink of a move from Fulham to Bayern Munich last summer. (Image: Getty)

The situation doesn’t currently appear that simple. The future of several key players at Liverpool appear up in the air, most notably top scorer Mo Salah and club record signing Darwin Nunez, who appeared sulky with his now former boss on the final day of the season having been left out of the XI to play Wolves.

“Everyone is saying is Salah going to go, and Nunez because he’s spat his dummy out,” said the 66-year-old. “They can cash in on Salah but that’s all down to him. If he tells the manager ‘I want to leave and play in Saudi’ or whatever I think they will let him go. He’s not been the same since AFCON.

“In terms of Nunez, he sulked at the end of the season and you don’t do that. But it’s a difficult one with him because he gets in these fantastic positions but he just can’t slow himself down to finish.”

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Regardless, Lawrenson has assured Slot he’s in safe hands with the owners, despite the inevitable pressures that come with managing one of European football’s most successful ever clubs. He did however, sound a warning to the former Feyenoord man that a quick start at the helm is paramount if Liverpool are to keep pace with the elite.

“There will be one or two who think I might slip off here and transfer somewhere else,” he continued. “And he’ll have to deal with that. But FSG have been great and they get it. And if he’s under pressure they won’t be panicking, it’s the way that they are and the football club is run extremely well in that respect.

“But he will need to start quickly, that’s for sure. Because Arsenal have got better again, Man City of course are fantastic, and there will be other clubs who will improve as well. So it won’t be easy.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1903247/Arne-Slot-Liverpool-Joao-Palhinha