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Liverpool told they have found ‘high value’ midfielder by Premier League boss



Liverpool told they have found ‘high value’ midfielder by Premier League boss

Liverpool are set to go head-to-head with the Bees in the Premier League later this evening

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has been in superb form as of late for the Reds (Image: Getty)

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has issued his own high praise for Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The Reds defender has been in superb form as of late with Jurgen Klopp opting to deploy the Three Lions international in a new-found midfield role.

The 24-year-old has scored three goals and registered nine assists so far this season as Liverpool continue to chase down a top-four finish in the Premier League.

“His passing range and ability is probably among the best in the world. I can’t remember the stats but he must be one of the top assist-makers in the Premier League ever.

“He could be a midfielder in the future. I know he’s being used there now when in possession and the game has developed where there are positions in possession and positions out of possession. But in the midfield he adds something to Liverpool that’s of a high, high value.

“It’s no secret that it’s very important that we close him down. If we can close him down and avoid him making an assist we’re one step closer to getting a result.”


Jorg Schmadtke will have to make big change if he becomes Liverpool sporting director

Having had just one sporting director in six years, the potential arrival of Jorg Schmadtke will signal Liverpool’s third in 12 months.

The German is said to be close to agreeing terms to become the club’s new sporting director to replace Julian Ward, who announced in November that he would be stepping down just a few months after officially succeeding Michael Edwards.

The position of the sporting director – or director of football – is one that has become increasingly prevalent in English football in recent years, despite the often low-key nature of the personalities assuming those respective positions across the Premier League.

READ MORE: Jorg Schmadtke eight best signings as Liverpool make move for sporting director

READ MORE: Jurgen Klopp has already made Jorg Schmadtke feelings clear amid Liverpool sporting director talks

Little was known, for example, about Michael Edwards prior to him taking over as Liverpool’s first-ever sporting director in 2016. Edwards had held a number of roles throughout football, at the likes of Tottenham and Portsmouth, prior to his move to Anfield in the summer of 2013.

At Liverpool, he had a number of job titles that included head of performance and analysis, and technical director, before assuming the mantle as sporting director in November 2016.

It was his last position at Liverpool that made him slowly become something of a household name to Reds fans, even if the few available images of the famously low profile Edwards meant there were plenty who would have struggled to have placed him in a line up.

Ward’s succession, following something of a six-month soft launch into the job itself, continued that trend with perhaps even fewer fans able to point out the Aintree-born analyst, despite his career at Anfield spanning, like Edwards, over a decade.

It’s why high-profile reputations and ‘big names’ are not always conducive to success where the often opaque position of sporting director is concerned. Supporters, perhaps inevitably, boil the success of any incumbent in the job down to the players brought to the club on their watch, and that is one of the reasons why Edwards was vaunted to near mythical status on Merseyside.

Players like Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Ibrahima Konate, Andy Robertson, Alisson Becker and Fabinho were all members of the current squad who Edwards was ultimately responsible for signing off on, while most of the squad who lifted every major trophy between 2019 and 2022 was at Liverpool because of the hard yards of their former sporting director.

More recently, Ward took the lead on the capture of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez, while it was him who literally handed the pen to Mohamed Salah to sign the biggest-ever contract in Liverpool’s history during his holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos nearly 12 months ago.

But despite the nature of their work becoming more widely known, Edwards and Ward – with a significantly limited sample size, admittedly – have proven that a sporting director does not need to be known at the same level as a manager or their players to be similarly successful at Anfield.

It’s why the potential arrival of Schmadtke should not concern supporters, despite an apparent history in Germany of being cantankerous and argumentative at times.

“To be fair, he tends to fall out with people, with coaches and other people at the club [he’s at],” German football reporter Christoph Biermann told the Beer and Honey podcast this week. “So he is not an easy guy to get along with.

“He is very funny, actually, he is – as I said – shrewd and also intelligent. But [Liverpool] comes as a surprise because he retired some months ago and said he was fed up with football and he wanted to spend time with his wife. He has a house in Ibiza and he said he wanted to spend more time there.

“He is a very experienced sporting director who has been a success wherever he has been working. He started his career with Alemannia Aachen who are now in the fourth level of German football and some would say it was because Jorg Schmadtke left some time [ago].”

Schmadkte helped Aachen secure promotion to the Bundesliga before they went on to contest a German Cup final in the mid-2000s. He assumed the role of technical director in the summer of 2009 at Hannover and within two years they were finishing fourth in the Bundesliga and securing a Europa League position for the first two in nearly 20 years in the process.

In 2013, a stint at Cologne helped them achieve promotion to the Bundesliga before they qualified for the Europa League in 2017. At Wolfsburg, who Schmadtke moved to in 2018, the German helped them qualify for the Champions League after years of underachievement.

“He’s very good at putting together squads, he builds squads and he has a special eye for centre-forwards, actually,” continued Biermann. “What will his role be at Liverpool?

“He likes to be the grumpy man of German football but he can be very funny and very ironic, so I think people in England will like him. He is the type of guy who is very likable, if you like characters.

“He’s not a guy who only knows middle-class football, he led Wolfsburg to the Champions League, so he knows Champions League-level [players]. So I don’t have any doubts that he will be able to [identify the right players].”

While Klopp has been keen to secure the appointment of a new sporting director once it became clear Ward would be working his notice, it’s key to stress that the power structure at Anfield will be different to what Schmadtke may be used to working in.

In Germany the idea of sporting director is one who sits above the head coach in the chain of command. That, though, won’t be the case at the AXA Centre where Klopp resides as the most powerful person in the football operations department.

How the outspoken Schmadtke adapts to that will be key to this relationship becoming a success, particularly at such a vital juncture of Klopp’s tenure at Liverpool where a major rebuilding is set to be undertaken this summer.


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