Former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards left the club in 2022, having been involved in a number of significant transfer deals during his time at Anfield.
Jamie Carragher has raised questions about the situation surrounding Michael Edwards’ departure as Liverpool sporting director, pointing to suggestions of internal disagreements over Jordan Henderson’s contract extension in 2021.
Club captain Henderson signed a lengthy extension despite already being 31 at the time. While admitting reports around the same time concerning Edwards’ own future was “probably coincidental” when it came to the timing, former Reds defender Carragher has opened up on worries which he holds to this day.
Edwards’ departure was announced in 2021 and he was succeeded by Julian Ward, who is understood to have played a big role in the signing of Luis Diaz among other deals. However, Ward himself is also set to leave Anfield after just a year in his new position.
Henderson has given Liverpool sterling service, but the length of that contract [four years] was a surprise, contradicting FSG’s policies on players in their 30s,” Carragher wrote in his column for The Telegraph. “There was an obvious change of tack after Klopp personally intervened following reports that Henderson might leave. ‘We will sort it. No doubt about it,’ Klopp said.
“Within 24 hours of an agreement, sporting director Michael Edwards was reported as considering his future, and has since left. The timing was probably coincidental, but there were strong suggestions – not contradicted – that there were internal disagreements about the length and value of Henderson’s extension.
“That worried me at the time and has worried me more when hearing the echoes whenever Klopp speaks about the future of Roberto Firmino and James Milner,” Carragher added. However, he did recognise that other extensions – most notably for Klopp himself and last season’s top scorer Mohamed Salah – have not been among those he considers “contentious”.
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It emerged in November 2022 that Ward would be leaving his role after just one year. He has been at Anfield for more than a decade in a variety of roles, and his first summer transfer window after succeeding Edwards saw the Reds sign Darwin Nunez in what could end up being a club record deal.
Reports have since emerged that Ajax could be ready to offer Ward a role in Amsterdam. The Dutch giants are seeking a permanent successor to Marc Overmars, who left his director of football post in February 2022 after admitting sending inappropriate messages to colleagues.
Carragher said the timing of Liverpool’s search for a new sporting director “could not be worse,” given the current state of the squad and apparent need for investment in the squad. Klopp’s side have a number of players out of contract at the end of the season, while Dutch forward Cody Gakpo was the only new addition to the squad during the January transfer window.