Liverpool hold talks with former sporting director Michael Edwards over return

Liverpool hold talks with former sporting director Michael Edwards over return
Michael Edwards left Liverpool in 2022 - Liverpool FC

Liverpool’s former sporting director Michael Edwards has held face-to-face talks with the club’s hierarchy to discuss a return to the club.

Edwards met senior executives including principal owner John W. Henry and Fenway Sports Group president Michael Gordon in Boston last Sunday, with Liverpool seeking to entice one of the architects of the club’s renaissance back into the fold.

Should he return, it will not be in the role he left in 2022. Edwards has no wish to be a sporting director again and turned down an initial approach from the club in January, so his job description and title will reflect a more senior position, most likely as an overseer of football operations.

That would give Edwards – who previously spent ten years working at Anfield – a greater measure of control over key departments such as recruitment and analytics, although he would be more likely to choose the next sporting director than assume all those responsibilities himself.

Until Edwards gives an answer to the club, it remains unclear exactly how much his new position will differ from the last.

FSG’s charm offensive demonstrates how highly they regard Edwards and have reached the conclusion that there is no-one who is better equipped to execute the data-driven approach that has been the club’s hallmark since Henry’s buy-out in 2010.

That has been quirkily titled ‘moneyball’, although there are many within Anfield who have grown to dislike the connotations of that description as data is just one facet of the process of scouting, or establishing the true value of transactions, whether that is buying, selling or extending contracts.

Alonso remains the favourite to replace Klopp

What is apparent is that the search for a replacement for Edwards’ successor, protege Julian Ward, found no-one who FSG considers their standard. Jorg Schmadtke was appointed on a short-term basis because he had the credentials to form an instant bond with compatriot Klopp. It was inevitable that Schmadtke would not continue in the post once Klopp announced he was leaving.

Once they have finally established a new structure behind-the-scenes – clarity is anticipated in the coming weeks – Liverpool will feel more comfortable formalising the process of appointing Klopp’s replacement.

Despite the noise surrounding alternative candidates, the preferred option has always been Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso. From the outset, the club has sought to be respectful of Alonso and Leverkusen’s current ambitions in the knowledge the ex-midfielder is fully aware he is on FSG’s radar and conversations can be held as and when all parties deem it most appropriate.

That said, Liverpool will have contingency plans in the unlikely event that Alonso rejects the chance to meet FSG officials.

Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim is also admired, with many top clubs understood to be considering an approach this summer.

Alonso remains the favourite with good reason, however, as Liverpool seek a coach who can be successful while forging the same powerful and emotional union between staff, players and supporters.