Liverpool legend tells Arne Slot 'biggest thing' he must do at Anfield – EXCLUSIVE

Mark Lawrenson spent seven years at Liverpool as a player. (Image: Getty)

Mark Lawrenson knows what it’s like to be part of a dominant dynasty at Anfield. And perhaps of greater relevance right now, the man who made 356 appearances for Liverpool in a seven-year playing stint that earned him 10 major honours, is also familiar with the notion of a new manager walking through the door with sizeable footsteps to follow in.

Lawrenson was a pivotal figure under Bob Paisley when at the end of the 1982/32 campaign, the Scot moved upstairs to be replaced by Joe Fagan.

Liverpool fans fearing the diminishment of a glorious era needn’t have worried. Within 12 months, Fagan was back in the boot room mulling over league title and League Cup success, not to mention European glory.

Whether Arne Slot will find it so easy in replicating Jurgen Klopp remains to be seen. But despite the widespread perception that the Dutchman is about to orchestrate an overhaul, Lawrenson believes the ingredients are already in place for him.

“I think the biggest thing for him (Arne Slot) is to be able to play something like the way that Klopp played,” the former Irish international told Express Sport on behalf of Instant Casinos. “And I think he’s like that, he wants to play against teams and be in your face, high tempo, all those kind of things.

“I think if he starts off and he does that he’ll be absolutely fine. There isn’t that much to do and he will be backed. And he’s actually going to manage a team who on their day, are as good as anybody.”

Arne Slot has a big task in front of him at Anfield. (Image: Getty)

That’s not to say the 66-year-old doesn’t recognise the pressure Slot will soon be under, not to mention the frenzied fluctuation of opinions. And in a day and age where patience in football is a forgotten commodity, how the club starts the season will quickly mould opinions.

“Start winning games from day one,” said Lawrenson, asked about how the club can avoid a hangover from Klopp’s emotional departure. “That’s the best thing because you can be forgiven all the other stuff. Look, as everybody knows, it’s a very difficult job to take over from Klopp because he was Shankly reincarnated.

“The great problem of course if, he starts off poorly with a couple of losses, and people start saying ‘oh bring Klopp back’, but that’s how football is. If he wins two games suddenly he’s a genius.”

Liverpool confirm head coach Slot as Klopp’s successor

That’s not to say the 66-year-old doesn’t recognise the pressure Slot will soon be under, not to mention the frenzied fluctuation of opinions. And in a day and age where patience in football is a forgotten commodity, how the club starts the season will quickly mould opinions.

“Start winning games from day one,” said Lawrenson, asked about how the club can avoid a hangover from Klopp’s emotional departure. “That’s the best thing because you can be forgiven all the other stuff. Look, as everybody knows, it’s a very difficult job to take over from Klopp because he was Shankly reincarnated.

“The great problem of course if, he starts off poorly with a couple of losses, and people start saying ‘oh bring Klopp back’, but that’s how football is. If he wins two games suddenly he’s a genius.”

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But what if the wins don’t come? What if, by Christmas, Liverpool are languishing and the voices of discontent are rising.

“You’re giving him until December?” replies Lawrenson, laughing. “But being serious, Liverpool fans are not daft. The people I speak to, and I feel the same, think maybe the time to get the job was after Mr Slot. The pressure now will be immense and maybe Alonso has been really cute by saying ‘I’d love to have the job but not yet’. And that’s the way of the world.

“They will back him though, there is no doubt about that because that’s the way the football club is. And they know he’s going to be different, and anyone who doesn’t realise that is not a proper Liverpool fan.”

Lawrenson described Jurgen Klopp as ‘Shankly reincarnated’. (Image: Getty)

A lot of course, has changed since the days when Fagan stepped in for Paisley, with media intrusion at a premium and the concept of the internet barely even born. Even the legendary boot room is long gone, but Lawrenson’s recollections suggest that Slot’s first impression to the players will be an important one.

“Bob went upstairs for a while but nothing changed,” he explained. “Graeme Souness was captain then, and we had a meeting and straight away we all loved Joe. And Graeme said to us players afterwards ’let’s win as much as we can for this guy’.

“There was no significant change at all, the way we travelled, what we travelled in, how we played. It was just the same. That was the clever thing with Joe, he just said ‘why do we need to change what’s working?’

Slot of course, is unlikely to reap quite the same benefits os taking minimal action, given he arrives at a time when the Reds have gone four years since their last top flight crown. And despite being in the title race for much of the 2023/24 campaign, its champions Manchester City and Arsenal perceived to currently boast the stronger squads by some margin.

But if Lawrenson’s opinions are anything to go by, it’s just tweaks that are necessary, not huge transitions. And after all, he should know.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1903193/Liverpool-Arne-Slot-Jurgen-Klopp-Mark-Lawrenson