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Liverpool have made a major change to how they do business and the message is very clear

New Liverpool manager Arne Slot with sporting director Richard Hughes
-Credit: (Image: PA)


Liverpool have a long and rich history of flourishing double acts.

From Keegan and Toshack to Dalglish and Rush, through to Gerrard and Torres, Suarez and Sturridge; the Reds have often been able to rely on a devastating tandem offence to fire them to glory.

Watching sporting director Richard Hughes sit alongside new head coach Arne Slot at the top table of the press room inside the club's AXA Training Centre on Friday morning, it was difficult to escape the idea that Liverpool are looking to rely on a fresh partnership to get them going once more.

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This, Liverpool hope, will be less Houllier-Evans and more, well, Klopp-Edwards, even if using both of those extreme examples are flawed.

In many ways, in fact, comparing the new regime to the sporting director-management relationships that have existed previously at Liverpool do not present like-for-like examples either.

The club have yet to replicate the level of success they enjoyed when Michael Edwards was the limelight-shunning executive who worked quietly away from the spotlight that was swallowed up by the personality and profile of Jurgen Klopp as manager.

Edwards's work was vaunted due to the success enjoyed on his watch and, quite frankly, how well the players he helped bring in performed under the coaching of one of the world's finest in Klopp but his reputation was also enhanced by the famously reclusive approach when it came to media dealings.

With Hughes presented front and centre alongside Slot at the AXA Centre on Friday, it marked a significant change not only in personnel but also policy at the club, even if the Scot's on-the-record utterances are only likely to be fleeting.

The message was clear: Liverpool FC, at the very top, is now very much a collaborative venture. And the apparent lack of ego from either the sporting director or the head coach bodes well for a club with plenty of work to do in the coming weeks and months.

With Edwards situated above them as Fenway Sports Group's 'CEO of football' - a position that now sees him become the day-to-day head of the club - it is undoubtedly an exciting stride towards the unknown at Anfield.

Slot does not have the same sort of power his predecessor enjoyed and Hughes may yet to be the doyen of the fanbase when it comes to recruitment but both impressed during their first significant public outing together.

Hughes spoke of the club taking an "opportunistic" approach to recruitment this summer while Slot revealed he is keen to get a good look at what he has inherited before key transfers are completed. It all made sense, even if there is an argument that there might need to be some wiggle room on the incomings front.

In order to thrive within the carefully restructured setup, though, Slot, Hughes and Edwards will need the sort of backing that was there last summer when it was accepted that the squad needed rebuilding to the tune of around £150m. They need the sort of support that allowed the club to make an admittedly doomed bid to break the British transfer record for Moises Caicedo at £111m last August.

With Champions League football back on the agenda, there can be little grumbling from the highest level that owners Fenway Sports Group cannot afford to provide the new-look team with what is needed on the ground at Liverpool.

Slot spoke enthusiastically about challenging and toppling Manchester City at the top of the Premier League this coming term, believing the margins are so slender that it is possible to do just that.

That being said, there was a reason Liverpool finished third last term and few would argue that was an unfair position based on their campaign. For all the strides made by the remodelled squad, further additions are needed to now take the next step under an exciting leadership group.

If Slot and Hughes are the men to get it right, then they must be given all the tools available to prove it. Another famous double act could yet be on the cards if so.