The whiplash that Liverpool fans have been experiencing on a nearly weekly basis this season has been caused by events off the field as well as their up-and-down form on it.
A case in point is Julian Ward’s surprise resignation as Sporting Director next summer, only a year after taking the job. It has also raised more questions for Liverpool at a time when the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, appear willing to sell after 12 years in charge.
Ward appeared to have made a good impression after taking over for Michael Edwards at the end of last season. The former Manchester City employee led the negotiations for the transfers of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez, with decisive maneuvering reportedly helping his team beat out Tottenham and Manchester United for the in-demand transfer targets. Bringing in young players like Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay, as well as securing Sadio Mane’s departure to Bayern Munich, provided more evidence that the 41-year-old was gaining traction.
However, with his now imminent departure, The Times’ Paul Joyce has added more detail to this latest twist in the tale, reporting that it was in fact Jurgen Klopp and his backroom staff who had pushed for the Diaz and Nunez signings. The manager in particular was said to have “fallen in love” with the Uruguayan striker after playing his Benfica side twice in the Champions League.
Close followers of Liverpool will know that identifying targets had largely been under the purview of Michael Edwards’ team in his time at Anfield, potentially signifying that a shift in responsibilities had occurred following Ward’s takeover
Joyce goes on to mention that these are not the only massive changes afoot. FSG is now said to be evaluating whether their infamous Moneyball approach, in which the club only spends what it earns and searches out talent before they become stars, is still the best model in an increasingly competitive market for players. Any major shifts in this high-level strategy could have played a part in what appears to be an increasing turnover of key personnel.
However, there are far too many moving parts at this point for any prediction of where things will go from here to rise above the level of pure speculation. Reds fans will have to wait and see, hoping that the club will emerge from this period of transition stronger than before.