Jurgen Klopp rules out sensational Liverpool U-turn despite Michael Edwards return

Jurgen Klopp rules out sensational Liverpool U-turn despite Michael Edwards return

Jurgen Klopp insists that Michael Edwards has not attempted to convince him into staying put at Liverpool beyond the summer.

The return of the Reds’ popular former sporting director and transfer guru to Anfield after almost two years away was officially confirmed on Tuesday, with Edwards - courted by both Chelsea and Manchester United in recent times - appointed as the new CEO of Football for Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG).

Klopp enjoyed a strong relationship with Edwards, who previously spent 11 years at Liverpool including six as sporting director before leaving in May 2022, responsible for a number of high-profile signings that helped turn the club into regular Premier League and Champions League contenders.

However, the German has quickly poured cold water on any fanciful notion that Edwards’ return could lead him into what would be a spectacular U-turn on his decision to end his own tenure at the club at the end of the season.

Asked whether Edwards had tried to convince him to stay, Klopp told reporters: “No, because – and it is very important in the job – he is not dumb. It’s not a subject to talk about, to be honest.

“Can you imagine I changed my mind now? Can you? Of course not. I cannot say what I said... It would be like, ‘Never, ever for another club in England’ and then [I] signed for next year for a neighbour or whatever, or whoever needs a coach.

“That would be completely crazy. I don’t say these things without thinking before. It would mean I started only now realising how great this club is. I know it all the time.

Michael Edwards and Jurgen Klopp have had a good relationship at Liverpool (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Michael Edwards and Jurgen Klopp have had a good relationship at Liverpool (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“It is, for me, the best club in the world and I leave it anyway – that’s why I tried to explain. I just want the club to do as good as somehow possible. I am really sure we created a basis with the right people in charge, and Michael is a top choice.”

Speaking for the first time publicly on the return of Edwards, Klopp added before Thursday night’s Europa League last-16 second-leg tie against Sparta Prague: “We had that conversation, yes. Michael and I, we always had a really good relationship.

“It was always very good on a professional basis anyway, really good, and a lot of good things happened obviously in the time that we were here together. Michael decided to do something else and now he’s back I am really happy.

“I said it a few times, I want to see the club in the best possible place after I leave, so everything we can do as long as I am here I will do. After that, other people have to do it and I think it’s a top solution, honestly. A top solution.

“Our conversation was great, we spoke about a lot of things, about what I think about different things, players and stuff like this [and] the situation in the club because I was in all the time while he was not in, so what had changed and what might have to change. These kind of things. A really good talk and, as I said, I think it’s top news for the club.”

Edwards, who had been serving as a consultant for Ludonomics, will be in charge of day-to-day football operations at Liverpool, taking on that responsibility from FSG president Mike Gordon.

He is set to be joined at Anfield by Richard Hughes, who is expected to take on the role of sporting director having previously served as technical director of fellow Premier League outfit Bournemouth.

The duo will be immediately tasked with the unenviable job of finding a suitable successor to Klopp, who is confident that the club are in good hands for when he departs after nine years at the helm in the summer.

Liverpool legend Xabi Alonso is still widely regarded as the front runner for the job, though Bayern Munich have also been heavily linked with a move for the current Bayer Leverkusen boss to replace Thomas Tuchel in the summer.

“Absolutely,” Klopp said of Liverpool’s strong position. “The club is in a really good moment, in a really good place. Of course, people will measure that only at the end of the season and have a look at what we really achieved, but that’s not that important for the future.

“What we achieve is for now. For the the future it is important how good is the team, how good are the players, how good is the structure [and] how good is the organisation.

“That’s where my optimism comes from and that’s why I think it’s a rather good moment to be with LFC. I am really happy about that, but that’s a general question and a general answer and has nothing to do with the game tomorrow.

“I am absolutely on my toes for tomorrow and and now we have to make sure everybody feels the same and we should be able to play a good football game. That is all that I want.”