When news reports broke earlier this week indicating that Liverpool Football Club counts among its staff a “goalkeeping consultant,” many rightfully wondered what that meant. Likely further tinged by the at times comically - and cosmically - bad keeping fans have borne witness to since the halcyon days of Pepe Reina’s reign between the sticks, it’d be no surprise that many of those questions came as a variation of “what does he even do?”
Well, in speaking with the official site, Jurgen Klopp offered up an explanation for what Hans Leitart, LFC’s Goalkeeping Consultant, does on behalf of the club.
“Giving advice for the scouting department, nothing else. It’s not that he makes any decisions, he can’t. That’s how it is.”
Well. That seems to be a very cut and dry assessment: Leitart’s role is not in direct training but, rather, on the player evaluation side. Though, as the rest of the interview notes, what that scouting consists of might be more inclusive than the simple concept of assessing transfer targets.
“We have a lot of goalkeepers at the club for different age groups, and that’s what his job is, first of all. The only person responsible for goalkeeper training in the first team is John Achterberg.
“For head of scouting, we have other people. But he brings in all the information he can get, that’s all. We have people for Germany, we have people for Austria, we have people for each country. And we have people for goalkeeping in all these countries – and Hans is this guy.”
It can be surmised, then, that Leitart may have a hand in helping to determine who the number one keeper is. At the very least, he is among those in the room contributing to the discussion. It also gives insight into how Klopp operates: while the buck may stop at Jurgen, he very much leans into a team of trusted voices to help make informed decisions.
It appears that public ethos of inclusivity and being parts of a greater whole extends from the pitch and up through the spine of the club. Funny, I seem to remember another world class manager that stamped that knitted that same identity into the bones of the club.