Tuesday 19 September 2017

Liverpool revolution continues as Jurgen Klopp makes senior appointment

Klopp is said to be enthusiastic about the prospect of working closely with Edwards. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Klopp is said to be enthusiastic about the prospect of working closely with Edwards. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Simon Hughes

Liverpool are set to appoint a sporting director for the first time in the club's history, with Michael Edwards in line to take the role.

Jürgen Klopp is believed to have pushed for the creation of the position before club president Mike Gordon backed the promotion of Edwards - a key figure on the club's much-criticised transfer committee.

Klopp is said to be enthusiastic about the prospect of working closely with Edwards, whose responsibilities are expected to include the overseeing of all transfer business, thus granting Klopp his wish of more coaching time with players at Melwood, where Edwards is also likely to be based.

The German's involvement in recruitment will remain apparent at the beginning and end of deals. He will decide which areas of his team needs improving and will then have the final say on who is bought and who is sold as well.

Edwards' influence at Liverpool has quietly increased over the last 18 months, especially since the announcement in March of Ian Ayre's departure as chief executive at the end of this season.

Edwards arrived at Anfield in 2011 as head of analytics in the same month as Damien Comolli, who became director of football strategy after being recommended to Fenway Sports Group by Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's baseball team.

Beane rejected John W Henry's approach to take him to the Boston Red Sox in 2002, having impressed Liverpool's principal owner through his use of sabermetrics to evaluate the value of players.

Though Comolli was sacked 17 months later largely because Andy Carroll - his record breaking signing - was considered by Fenway as a failure, Edwards remained and has since been awarded with two promotions, firstly to director of technical performance and then to technical director.

Like Beane, Edwards has a background in statistics. He graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2002 with a degree in informatics, which literally translates as the science of processing data for storage and study.

In 2003 he became the head of performance analysis at Portsmouth under Harry Redknapp, serving during his two terms at Fratton Park, before following him to Tottenham Hotspur in 2009. (© Independent News Service)

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