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Klopp Downplays Impact Of Impending Julian Ward Departure

Liverpool’s sporting director will depart this summer, but the manager is not worried that it will affect transfer plans for the immediate future.

Liverpool Press Conference - UEFA Champions League Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

When Michael Edwards stepped down after a superb run as Liverpool FC’s Sporting Director, most people seemed cautiously optimistic that Julian Ward, his handpicked replacement, would be able to carry the torch as Liverpool looked to retool to stay competitive. So, it was quite a shock last month when news broke that Ward would step down from the role this coming summer.

Edwards’ replacement stepping down after just a year in the job has many understandably concerned, but manager Jürgen Klopp has claimed he is not among them. Speaking to the media ahead of Monday’s trip to Aston Villa, the German manager expressed confidence that Ward’s upcoming departure won’t negatively impact the team’s plans for the immediate future.

“It was a surprise when Julian told me,” admitted Klopp. “But we work completely normal together until the day that he leaves. Julian is 100 percent committed and everything is fine. We never had a problem and will not have a problem, so it’s all fine.

“He told me after the Southampton game [Liverpool’s last before the World Cup break] and it was a surprise at that moment. That is his decision and that’s OK. It will have no impact for this period, not at all.”

As for what the end of Ward’s short tenure will bring, the gathered media were eager for Klopp’s thoughts on what Liverpool were planning for the January transfer window. Specifically, they wanted to know if Liverpool would pursue a move for the highly coveted Jude Bellingham now rather than waiting until the summer. Unsurprisingly, the manager didn’t bite.

“In January? I’m the wrong person to answer that, you will have to ask other people about that,” said Klopp.

While he wouldn’t give up anything on a potential Bellingham move, or provide any specifics about transfer hopes at all, he was less dismissive of the idea of January transfer moves than he has been in past seasons. This seems to strongly suggest the Reds are more open to making moves, presumably in the midfield department, than they usually are mid-season.

“January, in our situation, is a window from a sports side we are always prepared, it’s always clear what kind of ideas we have or how the necessity is from our point of view.

“All the rest doesn’t lie 100 percent in our hands and we always work with what we’ve got, and that will not change. You can imagine the situation we are in that we are probably looking. If something happens, we will see.”

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