Former Liverpool star says he’s ‘nervous’ about Arne Slot appointment | Football

Arne Slot is expected to take over from Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool’s head coach (Picture: Getty)

Jermaine Pennant says he’s ‘nervous’ about Liverpool appointing Arne Slot as Jurgen Klopp’s successor as the job represents ‘such a big step up’ for the Feyenoord manager.

Slot has emerged as the clear frontrunner to take charge on Merseyside at the end of the season, with Liverpool and Feyenoord striking a deal over a compensation package for the Dutchman last month.

Xabi Alonso had initially been identified as Liverpool’s first-choice candidate to replace Klopp at Anfield but the Spaniard effectively ruled himself out of the running by committing his immediate future to Bayer Leverkusen, the newly crowned Bundesliga champions.

Slot has led Feyenoord to two pieces of silverware – in the shape of the Eredivisie trophy and the KNVB Cup – since taking charge of the club midway through the 2020/21 campaign and will leave this summer as a popular figure among fans in Rotterdam.

Despite falling short in this year’s Eredivisie, with PSV Eindhoven confirmed as champions last weekend, Slot will look to finish the season on the high in Feyenoord’s remaining games against NEC Nijmegen and Excelsior.

Liverpool’s hierarchy are confident they have landed on the ideal candidate for the role, but Pennant – who made 81 appearances for the Reds – is concerned about Slot’s lack of top-level experience compared to other names linked with the position.

‘I’m a little bit nervous about Arne Slot,’ the ex-Liverpool winger told

Jermaine Pennant poses on the red carpet

Pennant is worried about Slot’s lack of top-level experience (Picture: Getty)

‘No disrespect to the Eredivisie, it’s not really a competitive league, we’re seeing Erik ten Hag get to the Champions League [semi-finals], getting knocked out by Tottenham but winning the league multiple times.

‘Now he’s going to get the sack at Manchester United, who have been nowhere near where they should be.

‘It’s such a big step up for a massive club and I keep thinking, is this going to be another Ten Hag?

‘Liverpool are in a better situation than United were when Ten Hag took over, but I’m still a little bit sceptical. He’s failed to please the United fans.’

Klopp leaves enormous shoes to fill on Merseyside (Picture: Getty)

Pennant doubts Liverpool will experience a decline like that experienced at Manchester United in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, but believes it’s vitally important the Reds hire a manager with ‘the right philosophy’.

‘I don’t see a decline at Liverpool like the one David Moyes had with Manchester United,’ he added.

‘Nobody thought Liverpool would be where they are after the season they had last season, new signings have gelled in quickly.

‘So I don’t see a Moyes decline, it’s about the manager getting the right philosophy for the club.’

Pennant hopes to see the Dutchman succeed should he take the job (Picture: Getty)

Pennant has not been alone in expressing their surprise over the club’s pursuit of Slot, with Robbie Fowler recently admitting he was ‘shocked’ when he initially read the reports.

However, the legendary ex-Liverpool striker is confident Slot will have the backing of Liverpool supporters if he is confirmed as Klopp’s replacement ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

Asked about his initial reaction to rumours that Slot is set to replace Klopp, Fowler told Anfield Index: ‘To be completely honest, it was a shock. I had to actually look him up, because I wasn’t sure what he had achieved.

‘The first thing I noticed was that he wasn’t even top of the Dutch league. To be fair, after looking deeper at what he’s achieved and the context around it, then yeah, he has done pretty well.’

Fowler added: ‘It’s not the choice a lot of fans would’ve chose, but they’ll still back him.

‘With Jurgen, it’s unusual because he is leaving on his own terms, so the narrative is in his hands.

‘I know some people have criticised the timing of his announcement, but I think he had to or it was going to get leaked.’

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