Four things are about to happen right now. Richard Hughes is now the sporting director of Liverpool. | soccer4u
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Four things are about to happen right now. Richard Hughes is now the sporting director of Liverpool.



Hughes replaces Jorg Schmadtke, who took over from Julian Ward temporarily last summer but departed in January. Following his appointment, these are the four most important problems that Hughes must deal with.

Appointing a new manager

It’s the most obvious place to start. Less than two weeks ago, Liverpool’s backroom staff lacked a sporting director. They now have one in place in addition to Michael Edwards coming back to the team in his new capacity as football CEO of the Fenway Sports Group.

Even though Hughes and Edwards won’t formally start their jobs until June 1st, they will surely already be working. Finding a replacement for Jurgen Klopp is the pressing issue.

The challenge is enormous and is being likened to Bill Shankly’s resignation in 1973. Liverpool has undergone a metamorphosis under Klopp, and they are once again a formidable force in Europe. The difficult burden of making sure the Reds don’t drop back to mid-table fodder falls on whoever takes over.

Given his incredible work at Bayer Leverkusen and his 2005 Champions League victory with Liverpool, Xabi Alonso is the clear favorite. However, Ruben Amorim of Sporting Lisbon and Roberto De Zerbi of Brighton are also reportedly in the running.

Contract negotiations

There are just two months left in the current campaign, and three senior players for Liverpool are under contract. In all honesty, even with Alonso, Thiago Alcantara’s former teammate at Bayern Munich, under fire, it’s hard to imagine him staying.

Since joining the Reds in 2020, the midfielder has suffered from injuries frequently, but never more so as this season. Before experiencing a hip injury recurrence that necessitated surgery in April of last year, Thiago made just one substitute appearance.

Joel Matip is also not playing due to an ACL injury. Prior to his setback in December, the center defender was playing well, and Klopp supported the team’s decision to’show their class’ by giving Matip new terms. But football is a cruel game sometimes.

Adrian’s deal ends in the interim. The No. 3 goalie hasn’t played since July 2022, when they defeated Manchester City in the Community Shield. Actually, Adrian might want to move to a different club where he can play more minutes. If he was determined to stay, though, Hughes will need to choose whether to keep the 37-year-old lower on the roster or perhaps go with a less experienced player.

Not to be overlooked is Mateusz Musiałowski. In the club’s under-21 squad, the 20-year-old has always been highly regarded, but he has had difficulty breaking through. But Musialowski made his debut last week against Sparta Prague, coming off the bench, and Klopp has since declared the forward “ready” for first-team duty.

Extended-term agreements

Another talking point was Virgil van Dijk’s candid admission, which came just three days after Klopp’s shocking declaration. The Liverpool captain, whose contract expires in 2025, acknowledged that he had no idea how Klopp’s departure would affect his future.

Even if Van Dijk has now corrected his remarks, the fact that his contract is expiring doesn’t change. This season, the Reds captain has returned to his commanding best.

Not just Van Dijk, though, is a vital player whose contract is expiring in less than a year. Trent Alexander-Arnold, the vice captain, and Mo Salah, the lucky man, are in the same predicament. It will take negotiations to try to get the three of them to agree.

Possible objectives

When Hughes was at Bournemouth, he showed off his ability to identify a player. In addition to Arnaut Danjuma, Lloyd Kelly, and Milos Kerkez, signings included Nathan Ake, Callum Wilson, and Dominic Solanke.

Hughes will be well-versed with Liverpool’s recruitment strategies. They want to get the most out of every deal and bring in players who can still be developed and are a few years away from peak performance.

With four midfielders joining last summer, this transfer window is not expected to be particularly active in terms of signings. Salah would need to be replaced if he were to leave for Saudi Arabia.

However, the defense will require focus next. Van Dijk will be 33 before the next season starts, even if he signs new terms. Furthermore, Andy Robertson turned thirty today. Future window planning will be just as crucial as the current one.



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