In Brief

Liverpool appoints Michael Edwards as sporting director

Jurgen Klopp welcomes 'hugely positive' decision as 'number cruncher' takes responsibility for transfers and contracts

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the appointment of a sporting director at Anfield to negotiate transfers and contracts.

Michael Edwards, 37 (pictured above), joined Liverpool in 2011 as head of analytics with a place on the Anfield transfer committee. He has been technical director for the past 15 months and is now "set to be handed a wider brief that will mean he takes the lead on transfer negotiations and contract renewals", says The Times. "Klopp worked with sporting directors at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund and enjoys a strong relationship with Edwards."

The Reds manager said: "This decision is hugely positive for us and it will make us better and stronger in managing the process of building and retaining playing talent at all age groups."

Edwards's appointment is part of wider restructuring at Anfield, with chief executive Ian Ayre leaving the club at the end of the season after ten years.

The two men have been working together to ensure a smooth transition and there should be "little disruption to Liverpool's season at a time when they have emerged as credible challengers for the Premier League title," adds the Times.

However, the new role will thrust Edwards into the limelight. "The appointment is an elevation in position and profile, although the demands on him represent a form of continuity," says the Daily Telegraph, which adds the support of Klopp could be "crucial".

The move has been championed by Liverpool's American owners, Fenway Sports Group, adds the paper:  "A structure they've long envisaged is now in place, ensuring while managers may come and go the fundamentals of how the club is run will be consistent."

The Liverpool Echo says Edwards's "data-driven ethos ties in perfectly with FSG'S 'Moneyball' philosophy of using statistics to find value in the transfer market".

But the former Peterborough apprentice, who began working as an analyst with Portsmouth in 2003, is more than just a "number cruncher", adds the paper, saying his "football background" has helped him build a "better rapport with players than most people in such roles".

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