Michael Edwards, Liverpool FC’s Sporting Director just in case you didn’t know, is a bit of a mysterious figure. He is one of the most powerful figures at the club but just like his bosses, he’s rarely seen. Actually we’re not even convinced he exists. We’ve seen a couple of grainy images but if someone told you the alleged position was created for FSG to clean some money, rather than actually spend any, we’d not be surprised
The Independent touched on Edwards at the weekend, not in appropriate #metoo way, but in an article about Jürgen Klopp. ‘Where is Edwards?’ they asked.
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‘Michael Edwards, the sporting director, is approaching a year in the job … there was a sense a year ago that Edwards’ appointment was a strategic announcement. He had essentially been filling the role without having a title for the previous 18 months. Because Liverpool were doing so well, they could push forward on all fronts from a position of strength. There is a difference, though between the art of negotiation and the interpretation of statistics in relation to scouting, where Edwards’s background is – especially when everyone suddenly now knows what you are up to.
‘Klopp certainly has questions to answer over results, team selections, tactics and substitutions but where is Edwards? He does not have a profile on the club’s website, a platform where his words have not appeared since 4 November 2016, and he seems to be able to go about his work, which is crucial to Klopp’s future, without any of the recriminations when it goes wrong.’
The Independent also suggests that Edwards’ handling of the Naby Keïta deal was a bit strange.
They said: ‘Though the deal was advertised and in many cases received as a coup, in recruiting the Guinean midfielder, Liverpool must be one of the first clubs to sign a player for a premium but only get him after they really want.’
Edwards started his footballing career at Peterborough United. He came through the youth ranks but following his apprenticeship he was released after failing to be promoted to the senior set-up from Peterborough’s reserves. He eventually landed a job as a Prozone analyst at Portsmouth under Harry Redknapp and became their Head of Analysis. He then worked in a similar position at Tottenham, again under Redknapp. Damian Comolli eventually brought him to Liverpool to be Head of Performance and Analysis.
It is claimed that former Reds’ boss Brendan Rodgers didn’t see eye-to-eye with Edwards (think ‘Transfer Committee’) but that his successor Jürgen Klopp was happy to work alongside him.
In 2016, The Liverpool Echo wrote: ‘Edwards’ relationship with Jurgen Klopp however is said to be “terrific”’. They also stated that Edwards’ ‘data-driven ethos ties in perfectly with FSG’S “Moneyball” philosophy of using statistics to find value in the transfer market’.
It’s at this point, that any reference of Moneyball results in The Big Man chipping in to shout: ‘After watching Moneyball, any Red must then watch Trouble With the Curve!’
Which of course is true. All Reds MUST watch those two movies but in that order. It’s FSG vs The Bootroom.
Nobody knows if Edwards is any good in his current position at Anfield. He’s an elusive character that’s for sure as The Independent points out.
From Peterborough United reserves to negotiating Liverpool Football Club’s transfer deals, that’s some progress for a guy that the FSG OUT characters call ‘Liverpool’s Laptop Kid’.
Supporters are currently waiting to see if our very own Scarlet Pimpernel can broker a decent deal for Virgil van Dijk during the January transfer window. If he does, supporters won’t care if he shows his mush or not. If, however, Liverpool continue to miss out on their primary targets, could Edwards become FSG’s latest fall guy?