Julian Ward will quit as Liverpool’s sporting director in the summer after a solitary year in the job.
Liverpool were surprised and disappointed when Ward, who replaced Michael Edwards at the end of last season, said he wanted a break after a decade at Anfield and do not believe he has another role elsewhere lined up.
Jurgen Klopp will be involved in the process to identify Ward’s successor as Liverpool have started their attempt to find a new model of how to structure their backroom staff. Chief executive Billy Hogan will also play a part in the search for a third sporting director in little over a year.
While owners Fenway Sports Group are looking for potential buyers or investors and Mike Gordon is stepping back his involvement at Anfield, Liverpool are confident Klopp’s commitment, both in terms of a contract until 2026 and his statements confirming his determination to stay, will still give them stability.
Ward will continue to work for the rest of the season, with Liverpool feeling his character and integrity are such that he can be trusted, while recruitment staff Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter will continue to have pivotal roles.
Ward, who used to work for the Portuguese Football Federation, was a driving force in the signings of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez from Porto and Benfica respectively. Fabio Carvalho, Calvin Ramsey and Arthur Melo also joined but Liverpool were criticised for not buying a senior midfielder. During Ward’s brief reign, a host of players also signed new contracts, including Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Harvey Elliott, Joe Gomez and Curtis Jones.
The FA and Carabao Cup holders have had an excellent record in the transfer market in recent years but will be without two of the key figures in Edwards and Ward, who was assistant sporting director for two seasons and European scouting manager and loans and football pathways partnership manager before that.