Relatively speaking, Liverpool have had a lot of success over the last two seasons – and a lot of that is thanks to a man who remains in the shadows.
The Reds sporting director, Michael Edwards, has pulled the strings behind the scenes, and is one of the key men behind many of our fantastic deals in recent years.
Joining Liverpool in 2010, Edwards didn’t get off to a flying start at Anfield as Brendan Rodgers – who managed the club from 2012 to 2015 – didn’t agree with sharing his responsibilities.
But he’s gone from strength to strength over the last five years, overseeing deals for Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Bobby Firmino, Andy Robertson, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Alisson and Virgil van Dijk.
Former Portsmouth and Scotland midfielder Richard Hughes worked with Edwards while at Pompey – and recognises the now-Liverpool man was special.
“On Mondays, he used to be the first port of call for myself and a good few of the other boys,” Hughes told Bleacher Report.
“We’d go into his office and have our stats read back to us on how we’d performed at the weekend. He’d played football himself, so he was used to that sort of camaraderie and those exchanges of banter with footballers. A lot of people in those roles come from a non-footballing background and sometimes they find fitting into the atmosphere of a football club quite difficult.
“Michael was different because he had an opinion, and he let you know it. He’s got a great sense of humour and he wasn’t afraid to tell me or even my more illustrious team-mates that we’d been garbage at the weekend, statistically speaking. He was the first person with that job description that I’d come across as a player.”
In the same report by B/R Football, writer Tom Williams explains that Edwards took responsibility of organising a weekly Champions League predictions game.
Each week he would collect score predictions from the players, and whoever came last would have to drive a custom three-wheeled car to training and then modify it in some outlandish way in time for the next round of Champions League fixtures.