Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards has officially confirmed he will step down from his position at the end of the season.
It was heavily reported earlier this year that Edwards would be leaving his role, although nothing had been confirmed. He has confirmed he will leave the club when his current deal expires in the summer of 2022, and will be replaced by deputy sporting director Julian Ward.
Edwards first joined Liverpool in November 2011 and has played a key role in the club’s successful recruitment in recent seasons.
Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group made repeated unsuccessful attempts to persuade Edwards to extend his contract.Embed from Getty Images
In an open letter to Liverpool supporters, Edwards wrote: “Ten years – that’s a pretty long time in anyone’s working life.
“In football terms it is an era in itself, particularly at a club like Liverpool where the expectations and standards are never anything other than as high as the supporters deserve.
“To be part of this club during this period has been a privilege due to the people I have been fortunate enough to work with and the success we have enjoyed. But all good things must come to an end and, in my case, I recently completed my final summer window as Liverpool sporting director.
“Even writing those words seems a bit surreal, but at the end of this season I will pack up my laptop and leave my office at the AXA Training Centre for the last time.”
Edwards added: “I had always planned to cap my time at the club to a maximum of 10 years. I’ve loved working here, but I am a big believer in change. I think it’s good for the individual and, in a work setting, good for the employer too.
“Over my time here we have changed so many things (hopefully for the better) but someone new brings a different perspective, new ideas and can hopefully build on (or change) the things that have been put in place beforehand.
“That’s how I believe businesses/football clubs stay ahead; you need to evolve and at the heart of this kind of process is always people. That evolution has always been central to Liverpool’s history and I hope that this is one thing that doesn’t change.”Embed from Getty Images
Edwards reserved special praise for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and believes the German will go down as one of the greatest managers in the club’s history after winning both the Premier League and Champions League.
“Being manager of Liverpool is probably harder than playing (the shirt hangs heavy, so they say), but he has delivered so much joy to the fans and reasserted so many of the club’s historical values that he will go down in history as one of the club’s managerial greats,” Edwards wrote.
“He is a demanding man – he wants to win, whether it’s padel tennis or a Champions League final – and he has led the team incredibly well over my time at LFC.
“Julian and Jurgen have a very good relationship and moving forward I am confident that they will bring the club more success.”
Edwards’ praise for Klopp was returned by the manager, who told Liverpool’s website: “I know he isn’t leaving immediately or in haste, which is cool, so we still have some time to work together.
“If we are as fortunate and blessed as we have been so far, maybe we can create more special memories for our club in this remaining time.
“He has been a constant presence during my period at LFC and his contribution to our success is clear for everyone to see.
“I have complete trust in Mike Gordon [FSG president] and the wider ownership group in their vision for what comes next.
“Julian and I have worked closely since he became loans and pathway manager, plus even more so in his wider role during the past 12 months.
“We have so many brilliant people here, all of whom contribute to what we have achieved and I have nothing but confidence we will continue to develop, progress and improve as an organisation.”Embed from Getty Images
Edwards has been one of the key components in Liverpool’s recent success. He came under some scrutiny for selling fan-favourite Coutinho, but having reinvested those funds in the likes of Van Dijk and Allison he was quickly forgiven. He has overseen the relatively inexpensive transfers of Salah, Mane and Firmino and has been responsible for an era of success at Anfield.
It is unknown where his next stop will be, but Edwards is not planning to move to Newcastle despite their new Saudi-led ownership looking for experienced backroom staff, according to the PA news agency.