Four Liverpool players NAMED who could surprise people under Arne Slot

A new coach means a fresh start for some players. It is an opportunity for some players to make a second first impression.

It is also an opportunity for one or two players to surprise the new gaffer and the fans. With this in mind, here’s a look at four players we feel might be able to make a big splash for Liverpool under Arne Slot. 

Luis Diaz 

Linked with a move away from Anfield this summer, the Colombia international is probably the easiest Liverpool forward to replace. However, in terms of playing profile, he's also the closest to those Slot had within his ranks at Feyenoord. 

The Dutch tactician primarily used Yankuba Minteh and Igor Paixão as his wide forwards at De Kuip last season and both impressed.

Minteh, on loan from Newcastle United, finished with 10 goals and five assists across 1,456 minutes in the Eredivisie while Paixão claimed nine goals and three assists in his 1,924 minutes in the Dutch top-flight. 

Interestingly, FBref ranks the two wide players as remarkably similar, especially in terms of output. So, clearly, there’s a profile in mind and Slot knows what he wants from these players. They are ball-carrying goal threats. 

Diaz also falls into this category. 

Luis Diaz Darwin Nunez

Luis Diaz Darwin Nunez

While his finishing might be inconsistent, he did finish last season with a Non-Penalty Expected Goals per 90 average of 0.39 proving he is an open-play threat. He also ranks well for progressive carries and successful take-ons, as well as shot-creating actions.

There’s a lot to like about Diaz, especially when the boss seemingly favours great one-on-one wingers in wide areas. 

The Liverpool No.7 could surprise a few people next season. 

Ryan Gravenberch 

Gravenberch finished his debut season on Merseyside strongly. A lot of people are still undecided on the Dutch midfielder though.  They’re unsure whether his languid approach can succeed in the Premier League. 

Despite the apprehension, he could prove to be a key player for his compatriot. 

During his time with Feyenoord, Slot favoured progressive, confident midfielders. Quinten Timber, for example, caught the eye last season playing in a double pivot as well as on the left of a midfield three.

The Dutch international wasn’t heavily involved in the build-up but his influence in the final third cannot be overlooked. He finished with seven goals and nine assists. 

Timber helped Feyenoord retain possession as well as progress the ball. He ranked well on FBref for progressive passes, progressive carries and successful take-ons. The 22-year-old was extremely press-resistant and forward-thinking.  

That description also fits Gravenberch, doesn’t it?

Ryan Gravenberch Liverpool

Ryan Gravenberch Liverpool

The former Ajax man didn’t play a lot last season but when he did play, he was progressive, press-resistant and always looking to make something happen. The 22-year-old also ranks favourably on FBref when looking at carries, passes and successful take-ons.

Stick him in the Timber role and he could shine. 

He said as much recently when speaking to Algemeen Dagblad, saying: “He [Slot]  is a coach who likes attacking football. That should suit me, you would think. We will see.” 

Darwin Nunez

Another divisive player amongst Liverpool fans. 

Some have had enough of the enigmatic No.9 and want a more reliable goalscorer leading the line. Some believe this statistical unicorn is worth persisting with. While transfers aren’t part of Slot’s remit, you would have to believe that if asked, the 45-year-old would want to work with the ex-Benfica attacker. 

There’s so much untapped potential there. If it clicks for Darwin, he’s a 30-goal-a-season forward. 

It was under Slot that Santiago Gimenez drastically scaled his output. While with Cruz Azul, the Argentine-born Mexico international wasn’t a regular goalscorer by any stretch of the imagination.

But in the Feyenoord system, he was put in repeatable goalscoring situations and it allowed the coaches, and the player, to work on finishing.

By creating an environment that allowed Gimenez to simply be in the right place at the right time, time and time again, the 6ft forward was able to develop into one of the best goalscorers in the Dutch league. 

If Slot can create a similar environment for Darwin, removing the erratic ways and the randomness of the Liverpool attack of last season and replacing it with repeatable attacking patterns, we might end up seeing a more reliable version of the No.9. And that can only be a good thing.  

Harvey Elliott 

Elliott impressed last season when coming off of the bench but didn’t seem to have the same impact when starting games. He’s another in the squad who is a huge asset but nobody knows what his best position is

Some don’t believe he profiles like a right-winger while there are doubts over whether he’s physical enough for a midfield role. Jurgen Klopp used him in a hybrid role and this allowed Mohamed Salah to occupy central areas during certain phases of play. 

Slot could well do the same thing.  

After all, he did exactly that with Calvin Stengs last season. The versatile No.10 was often deployed as an attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 but he would then drift to the right side which allowed him to cut inside onto his stronger left foot. 

There, he was a creative menace and it allowed the attackers to adopt a narrow shape,  which benefited the 2021/22 Eredivisie champions. 

This could well be the blueprint for Elliott if Slot does look to use the tactics he had great success with during his time with Feyenoord.

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