At his pre-Watford press conference on Friday, Jürgen Klopp discussed the confirmation of Michael Edwards as Liverpool FC's new sporting director.
Here is a summary of the manager’s responses…
What is your reaction to Michael Edwards becoming sporting director, what do you think of him, how will it all work with the transfer committee and what will he be responsible for?
I try to understand why it’s a big thing but, in fact, from my point of view it’s a very natural decision on Michael Edwards. When you have the right person at the club, you have to use this person in the right way and that’s what we have done since I’m here. The work with Michael together was brilliant, full of faith and trust and all that you need. Transfers are going always the same way, actually. The start is maybe different; whoever brings the player [to the table] – if it’s me, my assistant, the scouting department, Michael or whoever, then we have a lot of things to watch and to talk about and all this stuff. In the end, I will always have the final say. Maybe that’s the most important thing for you to know. If something was wrong since I’ve been here or will be wrong in the future, with transfers, it’s my responsibility. But for all the work we have to do until the player is here, you need a lot of really good people around – and he is a really good person who has done a lot of different jobs in the club. So it’s absolutely natural and absolutely easy to make this decision. How I understand it, only because it’s England it’s a little bit ‘bigger’, because all over the world football clubs work like this – short ways, quick decisions, knowledge, everything you need to make the right decision in the right moment. From now on, that’s with sporting director Michael Edwards involved.
LFCTV GO: Watch Klopp's pre-Watford press conference
How much more time does this allow you to work with the players?
We worked pretty close together before this. Ian Ayre, of course, is a very important person in all negotiations with agents and all that stuff. As a manager, I say ‘We have to go for this player’ and a lot of talks are to do with agents and all that stuff – why should I do this? You need a network and a lot of people, little talks and big talks. I’m involved in all of the big talks but not the small things. So there’s not a lot more time for me or something. What we’re trying to create is a structure for the future of LFC. The problem, I would say, is that this wonderful club changed philosophy three or four times in the last 10 or 15 years because different managers came in. That’s the English [way] of doing things obviously. The new manager is coming in. ‘What do I have to change?’ –‘Everything’. The former manager gets sacked because results were not good but a lot of things around this could have been good, actually. And we try to create a situation where everything around is perfect and if the manager changes in the future, then this club still has a good base. For this, you need the right people in the right position and Michael Edwards has been at the club for five years – did different jobs, knows everything about it, was involved in big decisions and will be involved in big decisions. But at the end, of course there is one thing where the manager needs the final say, ‘Do we take him or not?’ But the young players who are already in and we all like, were already his responsibility. And now we’re bringing all this together and really working on a structure for the future. That’s the plan. Having a sporting director now is only one step. We are working all day for the good of LFC. The most important thing each week is the game, but between the two games there are a lot of things to do. I don’t have more time now for different things, but decision ways are shorter for us because our owners give us the faith and the trust that we do the right things in the right moment. Everything is good and we work in this situation now.
Does this give you more control? Michael has been here five years, as you say, and you have a long-term contract as well…
I had it before. I had the final say before, that’s not news. Only in moments when somebody is not happy with whatever, and you ask here maybe ‘Your player or his player?’ – it is always my player. I can’t blame anybody else for anything, that’s how it is. That will not be a problem. I can take the pressure easily. It’s about the work, a lot of work behind the scenes. For this work, you need the best people you can get. In this business, the manager cannot, should not, it’s not allowed, to be a one-man show. It’s not allowed. I’m a specialist in football things. How can people say I’m the best in financial things and this and this? Sorry, I’m not – I know a lot but not everything and I like to have the best people around me. Michael is, for sure, one of the best I have ever met. So everything is good.