Edwards returns to Liverpool in new role of CEO of Football

Michael Edwards (left) with Jurgen Klopp and Mike Gordon 

Michael Edwards (left) with Jurgen Klopp and Mike Gordon 

MICHAEL EDWARDS has returned to Liverpool in the new role of CEO of Football.

The 44-year-old was previously Sporting Director for the Reds, overseeing a period in which the team won seven major titles, including the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and their first league title in 30 years. In total, he worked at Liverpool for more than a decade, before leaving in the summer of 2022.

When his exit was announced at the time, Edwards had said: “I had always planned to cap my time at the club to a max of 10 years. I’ve loved working here, but I am a big believer in change.”

Edwards went on to become a Non-Executive Director at Ludonautics, the data consultancy founded by Liverpool's former Head of Research, Ian Graham.

Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), announced Edwards’ return this lunch-time. In a statement, they said he would “assume a broad range of responsibilities, including leading efforts to identify and recruit new leadership for Liverpool FC’s football operation, and supporting the growth of FSG in global football through additional investment and acquisition.”

Edwards said: “It was vital for me that, if I did return, it had to be with renewed vigour and energy. In practice, this means having fresh challenges and opportunities. As such, one of the biggest factors in my decision is the commitment to acquire and oversee an additional club, growing this area of their organisation. I believe that to remain competitive, investment and expansion of the current football portfolio is necessary.

“With Liverpool FC, I will oversee the required reinforcement of football operations, with a number of essential leadership positions needing urgent attention. I know from personal experience what a wonderful job Mike Gordon has done with day-to-day oversight on behalf of his fellow owners. Going forward I’m looking forward to working with FSG’s board of managers.

“Also, in assuming this role, I fully understand that it comes with great expectations, and I therefore intend to identify, hire, and subsequently empower leaders who meet and embody the club’s values and ambitions.”

FSG President Mike Edwards added: “Michael is one of the most formidable executive talents in world football. He returns to us in a role with greater seniority than he held previously and with a wider remit. It was clear when we initially reached out to him that a broader scope would be a key motivating factor for any potential return to the industry. In this regard – and many others – his ambitions matched ours.

“He will take over responsibilities I have previously held regarding oversight and management of Liverpool FC’s football operation. Fulfilling that role has been one of the greatest privileges of my life and handing it over and returning to a more traditional role in ownership is something I have been hoping to do for some time, but only if we could find the right individual or structure.

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“In Michael we now have the ideal person to assume these responsibilities.”

Edwards will report directly to FSG’s ownership group, led by Owner John W Henry, Chairman Tom Werner and Gordon, who confirmed he will “continue to lead engagement on matters relating to football.”

Edwards originally joined Liverpool from Tottenham in November 2011 as Head of Analytics. He was promoted to Director of Technical Performance, then Technical Director, and, in November 2016, to Sporting Director.

On his watch, Liverpool hired manager Jurgen Klopp, assembled the best data science department in English football, recruited incredibly astutely and invested in innovative specialist coaches. When he signed a contract renewal in December 2019, Klopp paid tribute to his Sporting Director.

"I must highlight the role of Michael Edwards in this journey so far," the German said. "His input and collaboration has been just as important as anyone else's in getting us into a position to compete for the game's top titles."

One of Edwards’ most important tasks will now be finding a replacement for Klopp, who exits Anfield at the end of the season, as well as a new Sporting Director. Richard Hughes, who is stepping down as Bournemouth's Technical Director at the end of the season, is expected to take that role and report into Edwards.

When he left Liverpool in 2022, Edwards was replaced as Sporting Director by his number two, Julian Ward, but he left after a season in post. German Jorg Schmadtke then came in, but was only ever an interim appointment and departed at the end of January 2024.

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