Liverpool’s sporting director, Julian Ward, decided to leave the club at the end of the season, just months after replacing Michael Edwards in the role.
Ward officially succeeded the influential Edwards in the summer after he was promoted from assistant sporting director, though he did lead Liverpool’s recruitment for Luis Diaz And the Darwin Nunez Prior to this while serving in a transitional leadership role.
The 41-year-old’s decision came as a shock and disappointment to Liverpool, who are now considering whether to continue with the sporting director model first introduced under Edwards in 2016. Jurgen Klopp, who likes the sporting director structure and has been close to both Edwards Word, he will be pivotal in determining how football operations are run at the end of the season. Chief executive Billy Hogan will also be involved in the final decision which could see Liverpool maintain the current setup and have a third sporting director in just over a year.
No explanation was given for Ward’s exit, but he has told Liverpool he intends to take a break at the end of the season and has no intention of starting a job at a new club in the near future. While the Liverpool-born sporting director has only been in charge for several months officially, he has worked for the club for more than a decade since joining from Manchester City.
Ward was a European scouting, loan and track manager before becoming Edwards’ assistant during a highly successful spell for Liverpool. He has a close working relationship with Head of Recruitment, Dave Fallows, and Chief Scout, Barry Hunter, both of whom would go on to play a central role in Liverpool’s transfer strategy.
Liverpool believe that advance notice from Ward, combined with an established footballing strategy, will ensure business as usual continues this season. They have no reservations about their sporting director remaining in office until the end of the campaign, with Ward’s character and professional integrity undisputed.
There are further changes planned behind the scenes with Liverpool’s director of research, Ian Graham, who has been with the club since 2012, also set to leave at the end of the season having tendered his resignation in June. He is currently serving a notice period.
Meanwhile, UEFA has yet to be notified upon independent review in chaotic scenes May’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid will be published in Paris.
European Football’s governing body has commissioned a team led by Dr. Thiago Brandão Rodriguez, the Portuguese MP, to look into the events at the Stade de France which have seen serious crowd problems that have seen kick-offs delayed, fans locked down, tickets not made and hardened police using tear gas on supporters. .
UEFA stated that it aims to publish the report by the end of November, but with less than a week to go, it is still waiting for confirmation of when the report will be received. “UEFA has not yet been informed of a specific publication date for the report which is currently being prepared by the independent review team led by Dr Brandao Rodrigues,” a statement read.
Concerns have been expressed In some quarters about Rodriguez’s appointment just two days after the final as he previously worked closely with Thiago Craveiro, the former CEO of the Portuguese Football Federation who moved in March this year to become an advisor to UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin. However, fears seemed to be allayed, certainly among some groups on Merseyside, when Rodriguez and his squad visited to gather information and take statements from club and organized fan groups.