How Liverpool's data decided Arne Slot should replace Klopp

(Editor's Note: With news on May 20 that Liverpool have confirmed Arne Slot as manager, we're republishing this piece from May 1 that breaks down what made him the right person to succeed Jurgen Klopp.)

It seems like Liverpool might finally have their man.

Per ESPN sources, the club has agreed to a fee with Feyenoord to buy out the final two years of manager Arne Slot's contract. Provided that Liverpool and Slot can come to a deal, the 45-year-old Dutchman will be the one tasked with the simple challenge of, you know, replacing the manager who has won every major trophy he could win and reestablished Liverpool as one of the top clubs in the world.

No pressure, Arne.

Rather than going for a big-name manager to replace perhaps the biggest-name manager in Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool landed on someone whom many of their fans have never heard of. When Klopp joined the club 8½ years ago, he was already one of the world's few elite coaches. He'd won the Bundesliga multiple times and reached the Champions League final. Slot, meanwhile, has never managed outside of the Netherlands and has coached six Champions League matches -- total.

So, in anticipation of Slot, uh, slotting in at Anfield, we have some questions. Starting with...

Why? Of all the possible managers, why Arne Slot?

The first thing to remember here is that this is Liverpool. Former director of football Michael Edwards, who helped build the all-conquering squad of the past decade, is back, and the club's current director of research, Will Spearman, has a doctorate in physics from Harvard and helped discover the "God particle" before he was brought in to help figure out who might be a decent soccer coach.

The point is: Liverpool's managerial hiring process will be more rigorous, data-driven, targeted and objective than that of any other big club in the world. They know what they want from their coach and, unlike most other clubs, they've tried to figure out how to measure what they want from their coach.

This is why they've landed on a coach who no one really expected to become the next Liverpool coach back when Klopp announced he'd be leaving in January.