Here is your Liverpool morning digest for Wednesday, 25 May.
Liverpool set for new FSG era after recruitment switch and Jurgen Klopp decision
Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan has paid tribute to outgoing sporting director Michael Edwards and says Julian Ward is the ideal man to further his predecessor’s fine work at Anfield, writes Paul Gorst.
Edwards will leave the club at the end of the season after over a decade of service behind the scenes on Merseyside. Having joined the club in 2011 as head of performance and analysis, he then became technical director, but it was his role as Liverpool’s maiden sporting director where the famously low-key analyst truly established his reputation among the club’s worldwide fanbase.
Edwards was instrumental in helping bring together most of the current squad that Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal, while also ensuring Liverpool received good sums for players who were surplus to requirements at Anfield.
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Liverpool are viewed as one of the pioneers in the rise of data analysis within football and have an entire research department dedicated to exhaustive evaluations of potential transfer targets, something which was brought in on Edwards’ watch.
Ward was appointed as assistant sporting director in December 2020 and has taken a more hands-on approach this season as he has continued to prepare for the leading role once his boss officially steps down next month.
CEO Hogan, who himself replaced Peter Moore in the summer of 2020, has backed the club to continue thriving with regards to their recruitment once Ward officially takes over.
In an exclusive chat with the ECHO, Mr Hogan said: “Michael has had an immense impact, absolutely. And look, some of those moments, whether it is the football operations or the work the Academy is doing, maybe it does not get seen as much as the first team that is on the pitch. “
Read the full story HERE.
Karim Benzema makes Jurgen Klopp claim and explains why Real Madrid are confident against Liverpool
Real Madrid star Karim Benzema believes his side knows what to expect against Liverpool in the Champions League final and insisted the Reds ‘haven’t changed much over the years’, writes Will Pickworth.
The LaLiga champions take on Jurgen Klopp’s side in a mouthwatering contest to crown the champions of Europe at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday. Liverpool will be looking to inflict revenge for the painful defeat in the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev and last season’s quarter-final loss to Los Blancos.
Benzema is having one of the best seasons of his decorated career and has been influential in Madrid’s run to the final. He has scored 15 goals in 11 Champions League games including 10 in his last five matches in the competition. His short run has included memorable comeback wins over Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Man City.
He will come out against a vastly different Liverpool side in Paris with only eight of Liverpool’s 18 man squad from the 2018 final still at the club. Similarly, in last year quarter-final, an injury-hit Liverpool lined up with Ozan Kabak and Nat Philips in defense in both legs.
Despite this, Benzema is still full of confidence and outlined how Madrid will deal with Liverpool’s threats. “They’re very good,” he explained. “They have not changed much for the last four or five years. They have a good coach [Klopp]. But we have to focus on our own game.
Read the full story HERE.