Breaking down Arne Slot’s record against top coaches: Mourinho, Sarri, Simeone…

Arne Slot is all but confirmed as Liverpool’s next manager.

After reports that Liverpool are negotiating with Feyenoord over a compensation fee, it’s since come to light that the two clubs have come to an agreement. The 45-year-old Dutchman will arrive on Merseyside as Jurgen Klopp’s successor this summer.

Soon enough, Slot will be pitting his wits against his idol Pep Guardiola, as well as the likes of Mikel Arteta and Unai Emery. But how has he fared against Europe’s top tacticians in his coaching career to date? We’ve broken down his record against the big-name managers he’s come up against.

Alan Pardew

Look, we know what you’re thinking. Pardew isn’t an elite coach nor particularly relevant to the conversation of top-level football in 2024.

Really, we’re just including Pards for the laughs – and to remind you of his weird and wonderful stint in the Netherlands.

Back in March 2020, just days before Europe went into lockdown, Slot was still a fledgeling coach in his first full season at AZ Alkmaar. He led them to a comfortable 4-0 mauling of Pardew’s struggling Den Haag.

Erik ten Hag

Slot came up against Ten Hag’s Ajax four times during his time in the Netherlands.

AZ Alkmaar actually did the league double over the reigning champions in 2019-20, notching a 1-0 victory on home soil before a 2-0 win in Amsterdam – a result that put them right on Ajax’s coattails. AZ were level on points when the season was abandoned, with no league title ultimately awarded following the Covid-hit early finish.

Ajax subsequently did the double over Slot’s Feyenoord in 2021-22, en route to another Eredivisie title, winning 2-0 in Rotterdam prior to a memorable 3-2 comeback at the Johan Cruyff ArenA.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United faced Slot’s AZ Alkmaar in the 2019-20 Europa League group stage alongside Partizan Belgrade and Kazakhstani outfit Astana.

Both teams ended up making it through to the knockout stages, with United the group winners.

AZ ground out a creditable 0-0 draw at home to the Red Devils but succumbed to a 4-0 defeat in the rematch at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho

“Their style of football achieves results, but I prefer to watch Manchester City and Napoli,” Slot responded in a press conference when asked if he’d been watching Mourinho’s Roma.

“I’m very honest on that.”

At that point, Feyenoord had already lost 1-0 to Mourinho’s men in the previous season’s Conference League final.

Feyenoord took a first-leg 1-0 lead in the first leg of last season’s Europa League quarter-final, only to lose 4-1 in the Italian capital.

Footage later emerged of Mourinho berating Slot in the tunnel after the match, yelling towards the Dutchman: “You watch Napoli but you should watch us. You should watch us, not Napoli, not Napoli.”

Oof. Get Jose back in the Premier League and watch the sparks fly.

READ: The last 6 Eredivisie-winning managers & their largely disastrous next moves

Maurizio Sarri

Feyenoord and Lazio came up against one another in the group stages of the Europa League and Champions League in the last two seasons.

Slot’s men lost on both occasions at the Olimpico – something of a recurring theme – but beat Sarri’s Biancocelesti each time in Rotterdam.

Curiously, all four teams ended on eight points in the Europa League in 2022-23. Feyenoord progressed as group winners on goal difference, while Lazio ended third and dropped to the Conference League.

But Lazio got revenge by qualifying at Feyenoord’s expense for the Champions League knockouts this season.

Brendan Rodgers

Earlier this season, Celtic had the ignominious honour of becoming the first British side to go fifteen successive matches without a win in the Champions League.

They started out with a poor 2-0 defeat to Slot’s Feyenoord and were eliminated before the final round of fixtures. But they did at least end their winless run with a consolatory 2-1 victory at home to the Dutch champions.

Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid came out on top of the aforementioned Champions League group and went on to eliminate Inter in the first knockout round.

The La Liga giants have had their struggles this season but they went unbeaten in their Champions League group and notched home-and-away victories over Slot’s Feyenoord.

The Eredivisie champions suffered a relatively routine 3-1 defeat in Rottenham and later twice took the lead in Madrid, only to lose 3-2, a killing off their hopes of making it to the last 16.

QUIZ: Can you name every Dutch manager in Premier League history?

Daniele De Rossi

Having finished third in their Champions League group, Slot’s Feyenoord dropped into the Europa League where they once again drew Roma.

The Giallorossi had recently ditched Slot’s old adversary Mourinho and replaced him with club legend De Rossi.

In both legs, De Rossi’s Roma came from behind to draw 1-1 before progressing on penalties at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Italian has since been given the job on a full-time basis after leading Roma to the semi-finals and an uptick in Serie A results.