Tony Evans: ‘FSG definitely want Michael Edwards back’

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The Essence of Football and Liverpool’s Latest Triumph

Celebrating Liverpool’s Victory

Sometimes, people forget the point of football. The reaction of rival fans to the celebrations of Liverpool supporters after the Carabao Cup victory over Chelsea makes you wonder why these people even go the game.

There are few better experiences in sport than a late winner. To get one in a final always generates a spectacular feeling. To do it in the circumstances that developed at Wembley added a huge amount of spice.

Finishing the match with so many youngsters on the pitch meant it was another of the miracles that have characterised the Jurgen Klopp era. If anyone would have suggested before kick-off that this situation would arise, Chelsea would have been unbackable favourites.

Photo: IMAGO

Those who sneered, “it’s only the League Cup,” don’t get football. Winning any trophy is a cause for celebration – there’s only four available, after all – but to do it like this was something special.

Of course, we know the reaction is driven by jealousy. But there’s another side to it. Let’s not be like them, eh?

If Arsenal want to go wild after beating us, let’s not squeal and complain, eh? Let others have their moments and recognise that the joy of winning is one of the things that makes football special.

Our moments may be a touch more spectacular than most of our rivals but let them have their pleasure without being sneery. Because the great thing about supporting Liverpool is that you know there’s always another mad, unpredictable, insanely uplifting day around the corner.

Bring them on.

Liverpool’s Management and Future Directions

The Desire for Michael Edwards’ Return

Fenway Sports Group definitely want Michael Edwards back. It appears the former sporting director will consider returning if he’s given the keys to the club. He wants to be in control. I don’t blame him.

The Klopp-Edwards-Mike Gordon triumvirate worked very well. One of the reasons was that Klopp and Edwards balanced each other’s weakness. They delivered the Champions League and the title.

Edwards’ Pre-Klopp Era and Vision For Future

Let’s rewind to the Edwards of the pre-Klopp days, though, the one who had to deal with Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman didn’t have as clear a vision of how he wanted to play as his German successor. There were plenty of muddled signings in those strange days, although not all of them can be laid at the door of Edwards.

Yet this was the Edwards of Lazar Markovic and Emre Can. His record had more misses than hits before Klopp arrived.

On the other hand, Edwards wanted Mo Salah as early as 2014. Even this foresight, however, has to be viewed with slight suspicion. Had Rodgers not scuppered the Egyptian’s signing a decade ago, would Salah be a Kop icon? Chelsea gazumped Liverpool but Jose Mourinho was not the sort of manager to nurture such a talent. The word from Stamford Bridge suggested that Salah was not strong enough for the Premier League at the time.

Does anyone believe that had Edwards got his man a decade ago, Rodgers would have turned Salah into an Anfield great? It would probably have been a case of right player at the wrong time with the wrong manager.

In many ways, this is a good moment for restructuring power at Liverpool. Setting up a new system where the ultimate responsibility lies away from the manager may not be the worst idea. Xabi Alonso and Ruben Amorim, the favourites for the role, are used to being continental coaches rather than Premier League managers. Klopp has spoken at length about how he didn’t want to be in charge of transfers when he arrived. He was happy to be provided with players.

Photo: IMAGO

That changed. The squad Klopp inherited was ordinary at best. The manager’s input changed the dynamic of the squad.

The dysfunction at the club during the Rodgers years means that you can’t judge Edwards on that period. The 44-year-old was at his best when working with a strong manager with a clear template for how he wanted his team to play. That working relationship with Klopp had plenty of ups and downs but the tension produced something special.

Will an even more empowered Edwards be able to replicate the relationship?

There will be an element of a gamble whoever comes on. Despite his previous success at the club, Edwards is not nailed on to repeat it without someone as clear-minded as Klopp. Like everyone else this summer, he’ll be starting from scratch. There are no guarantees.

The Significance of Liverpool’s Academy

Continuity Through the Academy

One thing the new regime will be able to rely on, and where continuity should remain, is the academy. It’s been an excellent month for the production line of youngsters.

There’s no guarantee that any of the young guns will kick on like Trent Alexander-Arnold. After all, this time last year Stefan Bajcetic was the biggest midfield hope we had.

Yet the sheer volume of kids making significant contributions at the moment makes you think that this is not a fluke nor a short-term golden age. Whatever Liverpool’s new structure looks like going forward, leave the academy alone.

Photo: IMAGO

Unforgettable Atmosphere at Wembley

Loud and Proud Liverpool Fans

It was hard for me to judge just how loud our end was at Wembley. I was right in the middle of it, so there was no chance of hearing anything from the Chelsea fans. In the press box you can get a sense of both sides.

But it felt loud. An energy buzzed through our sections. And, of course, my heart nearly burst with pride when we gave God Save The King the treatment it deserved.

There are some even within our own fanbase who deride the cups. Yet could a Sunday afternoon be spent in a better manner?

Start it off booing the national anthem, end it by hailing one of the most memorable performances in my supporting life. Days don’t come much better and our voices have rarely soared louder.

Photo: IMAGO

Looking Ahead to Nottingham Forest

The Next Challenge

Now for Nottingham Forest. After the elation of this week, it’s time to focus. Klopp will see to that.

We should see some of the senior players back and it’s imperative we take three points with the Manchester City game looming. On the face of it, City should romp the Manc derby but applying pressure on Pep Guardiola’s team is essential.

They’ll already be thinking about Anfield and would rather not come here with us on a roll and surfing the emotional wave that we’re on at the moment.

Just win, Reds. Keep that momentum going. If we do, they’ll shiver with fear from the Etihad to Abu Dhabi.

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