“On A Lot Of People’s Lists” – Neil Jones On Michael Edwards’ Return To Liverpool & FSG

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Liverpool sit second in the Premier League on goal difference after Sunday’s pulsating encounter with Manchester City finished 1-1.

Manager Jürgen Klopp lauded his players, describing their second-half performance as the best under his stewardship against Pep Guardiola’s men.

Both teams had chances to win, but the Reds can feel hard done by after Jeremy Doku appeared to foul Alexis Mac Allister in the penalty area late on. Referee Michael Oliver was not instructed to consult the video screen despite Doku’s rash high challenge.

Matters off the field have contributed to the good feeling around the club, with former sporting director Michael Edwards agreeing a deal to return to Anfield in a new role as chief executive of football. Departing Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes is widely expected to join Edwards and will oversee the next chapter in Liverpool’s storied existence.

On the latest episode of our Journo Insight show, we asked experienced LFC reporter Neil Jones for his thoughts on the Edwards appointment.


Neil said:

“There’s not a huge pool of people that have that trust of clubs that they can operate at the elite level – do the things that a sporting director or someone with an even bigger brief needs to do.

“You look at the people who were linked with the job at clubs like West Ham, Eintracht Frankfurt, Nice, former AC Milan – they were all people who you thought, ‘I don’t know if they’ll be any good.’

“Obviously, he’s going to bring his guy in below him, but I don’t see that as a problem. Personally, I think that’s actually a positive, in the sense that if you trust Michael Edwards’ judgement on players, on ‘whatever’ – trust him on the sporting director as well.

“I think having him is probably the best you could have hoped for. If you’d given a lot of people a list of who would be your ‘dream’, I think he’d probably be on a lot of people’s list.

“It must be a really enticing job for him. They must have given him a very, very convincing pitch, and you would imagine a lot of power and money.”

[on Edwards’s company Ludonautics]

“I wonder whether you might see them almost come in house again and become Liverpool’s management consultancy because it doesn’t feel like Michael Edwards being a consultant for a firm that’s advising Arsenal, or Manchester City or anyone else really works, does it?”

“You’ve got someone in place who knows what the owners expect, want, the restraints, constraints that they have… It’s not someone who’s going to come in and go ‘What?! Why can’t I have him?!’

“He’s had to overcome some doubts, and some criticism implied or actually stated. To do that and put Liverpool in the position – or be part of the team put Liverpool in that position – and have him back, I think, is only going to be seen as a positive for Liverpool going forward.”


Redmen Reacts

The first step of the post-Klopp rebuild is complete. The hierarchy at FSG clearly thinks very highly of Michael Edwards, as they have approached him over a return to the club on a few occasions. With Liverpool’s most popular and powerful figure this century set to depart, Edwards and likely sporting director Richard Hughes can set about shaping the club how they fit, in tandem with the new manager. Hughes has a good reputation in football, despite paying over the odds for some surplus-to-requirements LFC players on a few occasions! He has a good working relationship with the new chief executive of football and fans can expect a smoothly run operation built on maximising value through use of analytics. If Edwards and Hughes can repeat the run of successful signings made at the beginning of the Klopp era, the players Jürgen leaves behind will be joined by some extremely talented teammates over the next few years.

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