Inside Liverpool search for new sporting director and what club are really looking for

At a club with a history of appointments from within, it came as no surprise that Julian Ward succeeded Michael Edwards last summer and became only Liverpool’s second-in-command sporting director.

After rising to the position of Credit and Paths Manager at Anfield Road, Ward saw a post being created for him in late December 2020 when he became Edward’s official ‘assistant’.

It was the beginning of a smooth start towards the eventual role of sporting director himself, one officially handed to him late last season after essentially learning for the past 18 months under Edwards’ tutelage for himself, both with fans and also gained a mythical reputation among players for the way he did business between 2016 and 2022.

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For a club with a well-established ethos of recruiting from further down the ranks – as epitomized by the legendary Boot Room culture – Ward Edwards’ succession came as no great surprise, although there were many Liverpool supporters who might not be aware of it were how highly respected the Aintree-born analyst was at the time.

However, just months into the role, it was confirmed that Ward would be leaving Liverpool this summer after over a decade. The decision to quit in November caught many both within the club and in Ward’s department itself unprepared, causing both shock and disappointment.

As a result, the search for Liverpool’s third sporting director is now underway in less than 18 months, with the process being overseen by both manager Jurgen Klopp and CEO Billy Hogan. But what exactly is the new Liverpool signing supposed to oversee? And how daunting is the task of making instant returns at a self-sustaining club with such high ambitions, at a time when they are undoubtedly in flux on and off the pitch?

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