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Will Spearman Named As Liverpool’s Next Director Of Research

Liverpool have decided to promote from within to replace the departing Ian Graham

Liverpool Training Session - AXA Training Centre - Monday April 4th Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

This season has been a season of turmoil for Liverpool. On the field, the team has struggled with form and injuries, leading to a string of abject performances and and midtable placement midway through the season.

For supporters, the results on the pitch have been exacerbated by off field happenings. FSG announced they were exploring their options for a sale of LFC in it’s entirety, or potentially selling a stake in the club or FSG. Liverpool Director and FSG president Mike Gordon, who has been a key figure in building the club to where it has been these past few years, was stepping back to focus on the potential sale.

Then, just months after taking over as Sporting Director for Michael Edwards, Julian Ward announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the season. Just days later, Director of Research Ian Graham also announced he would be leaving.

To help mitigate the turmoil, and hopefully provide some continuity behind the scenes, Liverpool have reportedly promoted from within to fill the Director of Research role according to Paul Joyce.

Will Spearman, who has been with the club since 2018, has been elevated from his lead data scientist role to replace Graham. Spearman is one of those Really Smart People who have revolutionized Liverpool’s use of statistics for research and recruitment. He has a PhD in physics from Harvard, and has previously worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Spearman has been integral to developing and analyzing the tracking algorithms used by the club to create its complex statistical analysis of matches in real time. He also has been involved in creating models to evaluate players of interest to the club.

Spearman’s good standing with people associated with the club, and respect from people outside the club, coupled with his institutional knowledge make this feel like a solid move. Hopefully his appointment will allow machinations behind the scenes for the important analysis and recruitment to occur apace while the club sort out the Sporting Director role.

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