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Liverpool are now close’: Fabrizio Romano has shared ‘imminent’ Reds update



‘Liverpool are now close’: Fabrizio Romano has shared ‘imminent’ Reds update

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

Liverpool are on the verge of appointing Jorg Schmadtke as their new sporting director, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Julian Ward, the current incumbent at Anfield, stated his intention to step down last November.

Since then, Liverpool have been linked with a number of candidates for the role.

Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Now, it looks as though Schmadtke will be taking the reins at Anfield.

Romano took to Twitter on Wednesday to claim the agreement is “imminent”.

The 59-year-old has accepted the role, added the transfer insider.

Schmadtke will work alongside Jurgen Klopp on the project and the club’s transfer strategy.

The Liverpool boss will remain “crucial” on matters involving the Reds’ future, added Romano.

Liverpool are now close to appointing Jorg Schmadtke as new sport director. The agreement is imminent — he has accepted the role. 🔴 #LFC

Former Wolfsburg director will work on the project/new signings together with Jurgen Klopp who will remain crucial in the transfer strategy.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 10, 2023

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Schmadtke was a goalkeeper during his playing days before moving into football administration.

He recently held the title of managing director of sport at Wolfsburg for five years before leaving in February.

Now, it looks as though it won’t be long before Liverpool make an announcement regarding the appointment.

However, it’s worth noting that there have been conflicting reports regarding Schmadtke’s contract length.

The Daily Mail claims he’ll be at the helm until 2026, the same year Klopp’s Liverpool contract expires.

However, Jan Aage Fjortoft claims the German will only be arriving on a short-term deal to help Liverpool navigate through the upcoming transfer window.

The Norwegian wrote on Twitter: “I understand it’s three months deal. Just helping Liverpool out in the coming transfer window!”

I understand it’s 3 months deal. Just helping Liverpool out in the coming transfer window !

— Jan Aage Fjørtoft 🏳️‍🌈 🇳🇴 💛💙 (@JanAageFjortoft) May 10, 2023

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The club should hopefully confirm this when/if they make the announcement.

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Liverpool can‘match’ Man City before any transfers but Jürgen Klopp must not ignore summer need

In many ways, it’s easy to forget what a bad season Liverpool has had. With six wins on the bounce, it’s been a while since Jürgen Klopp’s side has produced anything other than a satisfying result, and even the table is looking a little bit healthier these days.

Clearly, that cannot lead to transfer market complacency. Just as Liverpool’s problems were never as bad as they seemed, nor have they disappeared overnight. Jürgen Klopp still has a lengthy checklist in order to get back to competing with the likes of Manchester City.

But what does he need to improve? Before the upturn in fortunes, Klopp struck an increasingly stumped figure, seemingly at a loss to explain the repeated sub-par performances and results. Now, he needs to work out what has started to go right, and how to keep it.

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The most common theory for this season’s woes has centered on the midfield. Traditionally the engine room of Klopp’s side, his existing generals no longer have the legs to support the old approach, and a chasm has resultantly been prized open through the heart of the Liverpool side. The improvement after moving Trent Alexander-Arnold infield to offer more protection seems to support that hypothesis.

Consequently, the transfer market priority rather depends on what Klopp wants to do with Alexander-Arnold in the long term. But assuming he has shown enough to ultimately transition into a bona fide midfield role, one of the major Liverpool problems has indeed been patched up.

That can be shown by a comparison to Manchester City. Now the overwhelming favorites to win a fifth Premier League title in six seasons, Pep Guardiola’s men have maintained something close to their best level. As a result, nobody has questioned their increasingly aging side, with an average team age that has quietly crept up to 26.8.

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At 27.2 years old, Liverpool is even further along, and the third-oldest side in the division. It’s reductive, but nor is it a huge leap to say that’s likely to cause problems in an intense Klopp side. However, even before any transfer activity, a plausible line-up for next season lowers that age.

In defense, Alisson is clearly a given. Likewise, Virgil van Dijk will not be getting turfed out just yet, although he will turn 32 before the start of the next campaign. He is partnered by the more youthful Ibrahima Konaté, while Andy Robertson keeps his left-back berth. If Alexander-Arnold has indeed moved to midfield, someone will need to slot in at right-back. Joe Gomez is a viable — albeit potentially conservative — candidate.

Suddenly, the midfield has a spritely look about it. Whereas Jordan Henderson has been partnering one of Liverpool’s youngsters in the twin number eight roles up to now, Alexander-Arnold can step into that position. Curtis Jones has excelled recently, but Harvey Elliott has shown more over the course of the season, so he can be named in the other spot for the time being. Behind them, it would be tempting to put someone like Stefan Bajčetić to pull the average age down, but persisting with Fabinho seems the more likely solution, at least before any transfers are factored in.

Up top, Liverpool has two-thirds of a really spritely attack. Cody Gakpo and Luis Díaz occupy those places for now, while the more experienced Mohamed Salah is a given for the time-being. As and when he does begin to slow down, however, the likes of Darwin Núñez and Diogo Jota are on hand to complete a truly next-generation front line.

Jürgen Klopp can lower the age of the Liverpool team from within, but he cannot ignore the transfer need either.

(Image: Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

This Liverpool side — ultimately with no real changes, other than moving Alexander-Arnold into the middle — has an average age of 26.8, using their ages as of the start of the new season. That’s exactly the same as the average Manchester City line-up from this campaign. With the engine room consisting of a soon-to-be-25-year-old and a 20-year-old, and pressing from the front certainly not any kind of concern, it seems like a team capable of executing Klopp’s demands.

But there’s also no escaping that 26.8 is still quite a high average age. It’s only the 13th-youngest in the Premier League, and it’s more than two years older than the Arsenal side which has been such a breath of fresh air.

That should be a reminder to Klopp that replacing Fabinho has to at least be on the summer agenda. It may be that Liverpool considers Bajčetić to be a legitimate immediate solution, but if not, someone will need to be sourced in the transfer market.

But perhaps even more importantly, the role of the defense in dragging up the average age cannot be ignored. Even without fielding Joël Matip, it’s still by far the oldest part of the line-up. As well as a 32-year-old Van Dijk, Robertson is edging ever closer to 30. As a goalkeeper, Alisson isn’t really a worry, but that’s still a significant number from the back line not far away from potentially concerning territory.

If there’s one lesson to take from this season, it’s that Liverpool cannot leave these issues until it is too late. The transfer market is the time to be proactive. And while the midfield obviously still needs attention despite the Alexander-Arnold switch, it could be argued that the defense has become almost as pressing if Klopp is to genuinely take the fight back to Manchester City, and avoid plunging over another precipice.

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