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FSG bring Edwards back – what does this mean for Liverpool?

Fenway Sports Group have announced the return of Michael Edwards as their new chief executive of football – but what does this mean for Liverpool in their search for Jurgen Klopp’s successor?

Edwards oversaw the most successful period in Liverpool’s recent history, assembling the squad that won the Premier League and Champions League in 2019 and 2020 respectively by bringing in signings such as Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane.

The sporting director then left Liverpool in 2022 but despite rejecting the chance to return to Liverpool earlier this year – talks resuming in early March led to a deal now being agreed to bring Edwards back in a new role as FSG CEO of football.

Liverpool were not the only clubs looking at Edwards for a senior hierarchical role – with Chelsea and Manchester United also holding talks with the football chief over a role that involved running their football operations.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid made checks on Edwards’ interest in taking over sporting director duties, but it was clear he would not be operating in that capacity moving forward.

What has Edwards been credited with at Liverpool?

Edwards was credited with playing a big role in the success that saw Liverpool win the Premier League and Champions League. He had helped assemble the 2019/20 Premier League title-winning team.

He earned respect from supporters initially with his work as head of performance and analysis after joining Liverpool from Tottenham in 2011. He was promoted to the role of sporting director five years later.

He was the driving force behind the signing of Mohamed Salah from Roma in 2017 while also securing deals for Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, as well as bringing in further transformative signings Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson, Fabinho and Ibrahima Konate.

Edwards will no longer work as a consultant at sports management business Ludonautics – and will officially resign from the role on June 1.

Edwards’ first major tasks with FSG is to help oversee Liverpool’s life after Klopp – with the German manager announcing his departure at the end of the season back in January.

Where will Edwards fit in at FSG? And what does this mean for Liverpool?

Edwards, on behalf of FSG, will now replace FSG president Mike Gordon as the day-to-day decision maker on all football matters at Liverpool.

Gordon has been open about stepping back from football matters at Liverpool – but will remain on the FSG board and Edwards will report to him on all football aspects.

In assuming Gordon’s duties, Edwards will continue Liverpool’s search for a new sporting director – who in turn will be responsible for identifying and recruiting a new manager to succeed Klopp.

Xabi Alonso, also wanted by Bayern Munich to replace outgoing manager Thomas Tuchel, remains the outstanding candidate for the Liverpool manager’s role. Alternative options like Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim have also been analysed.

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Jamie Carragher analyses Bayer Leverkusen’s style of football under Xabi Alonso, and predicts how Liverpool would play if he was to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Anfield

Meanwhile, Gordon had already begun the sporting director process and Sky Sports News understands the role is set to be taken by departing Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes, who announced his departure from the Cherries earlier this month.

“With Liverpool FC, I will oversee the required reinforcement of football operations, with a number of essential leadership positions needing urgent attention,” Edwards said in a statement.

“Also, in assuming this role, I fully understand that it comes with great expectations, and I therefore intend to identify, hire, and subsequently empower leaders who meet and embody the club’s values and ambitions.”

As well as finding a new sporting director and therefore a manager for Liverpool, Edwards will also look to acquire a second football club into a multi-club FSG football structure, which will help attract more global talent to the Premier League club.

‘There is no-one better than Edwards’

Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:

“That Liverpool restructure job post Jurgen Klopp is such a huge one and it really needed somebody familiar with the club, who understands its culture, its processes, the mechanisms that make it sustainable and successful – and there is no better person than Michael Edwards.

“This is a Fenway Sports Group appointment, so the role itself is larger than just Liverpool. Edwards would be FSG point man on all football matters, the highest decision maker in terms of football.

“You have a guy who is so skilled at finding the perfect manager for Liverpool – he has done that before with Klopp.

“There’s a lot of praise for the great recruitment Edwards did a Liverpool, but that undersells him as there is so much more to him. He hired Ian Graham and set up Liverpool’s esteemed research department, which really empowered them.

“The AXA training facility, which is just world class, he ran point on that. He spent a lot of time at Salzburg and their academy infrastructure provided the inspiration behind it. He is an esteemed operator and one that Liverpool will be delighted that he is back.

“It offers clarity, a sense of comfort as you have a guy who understands what Liverpool is about and what kind of stylistic profile in terms of the football they offer, the character, the restrictions they would be under to deliver sustainable success.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at the club's AXA Training Centre
Image: Edwards was credited for bringing Mohamed Salah to Liverpool

“You know that he has the ability to equip a manager with the right tools. Look at the players – Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah and how they took the club to the next level.

“You have a guy who delivers in terms of infrastructure, the training facilities to Anfield. The head of football is going to service you, as a manager, with everything you need to do your best job.

“You also have of mind on who you are going to be working under and working with – and you will get good feedback around the world of football on this guy. There is a reason some of the best clubs in the world were circling him after he left Liverpool.”

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