These must be the 5 priorities for Michael Edwards after re-joining Liverpool

With the news that Michael Edwards is set to return to oversee Liverpool's restructuring following Jurgen Klopp's departure at the end of the season, the club can now start to look ahead to life without the German on the touchline.

Though the exact nature of his senior role is yet to be confirmed, the decision to bring back Edwards, who left Anfield in 2022, is a popular one.

During his 10-year tenure, during which time he earned promotion to sporting director, the 44-year-old garnered immense popularity among fans for his knack for identifying and securing top talent using a data-driven approach, as well as for maximising value in player transactions.

He played a pivotal role in bringing key figures like Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker to Liverpool, all of whom have become linchpins in the team's success.

Initially hesitant to return to his former post as sporting director, Edwards was reportedly eventually persuaded by FSG leaders John W. Henry and Mike Gordon during a face-to-face meeting in America at the beginning of March to become the company's chief executive of football.

Although specifics regarding his role remain undisclosed, it's understood that Edwards will assume significant control within the club.

Here are five priorities that will demand his immediate attention when he takes up his new position.

1) Appointing a new manager

The departure of Jurgen Klopp at the end of the season will leave a significant void at Anfield, one that needs to be filled with a manager who can carry forward Klopp's legacy of attacking football and high-intensity pressing.

Edwards must meticulously assess potential candidates, considering not only their tactical acumen but also their ability to handle the pressures of managing a club of Liverpool's stature.

Of course, Bayer Leverkusen's Xabi Alonso remains the overwhelming favourite to take up the post, but should Bayern Munich firm up their interest, Edwards must ensure that a backup choice has been lined up.

Likewise, he has to ensure that the new coach is aligned with the data-driven principles that both he and the new director of football, likely the departing Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes, embody.

2) Deciding on Mohamed Salah's future

Leading scorer Mohamed Salah, who has been a mainstay for the Reds during much of Klopp's tenure, will have just one year remaining on his contract by the time the summer arrives.

Interest from the Saudi Pro League persists, and with Salah turning 32, this would represent the Reds' best - and possibly last - chance of getting a sizeable fee.

That said, the Egyptian's impact has been enormous. Therefore, any adequate replacement would be extremely pricey.

In this case, negotiating a contract extension might be the best course of action.

17th February 2024 Gtech Community Stadium, Brentford, London, England Premier League Football, Brentford versus Liverpool Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after he scored for 0-3 in the 68th minute PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK ActionPlus12609448 SalvioxCalabrese

3) Convincing Virgil van Dijk to lead the new project

Similarly, captain Virgil van Dijk, who is a year older than Salah, will also enter the final year of his contract.

When it was announced that Klopp was leaving, Van Dijk was one of the first to express doubts about the future.

However, with his performances returning to close to pre-injury levels, it feels like a no-brainer that the club should do all they can to keep hold of the Dutchman.

Additionally, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and James Milner now long gone, the Reds will really need his experience to lead the younger generation through this upcoming transition.

4) Tying down Trent Alexander-Arnold

Another key member of Liverpool 2.0's 'leadership group' is Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The vice-captain has emerged as one of the best (hybrid) right-backs in world football and is integral to Liverpool's attacking play. Therefore, securing his long-term commitment to the club must be a priority for Edwards.

Likewise, Alexander-Arnold's contract is up in the summer of 2025, and while it will be very costly for the club to secure him for the long term, it will definitely be a worthwhile investment for the club's future.

Premier League Manchester City v Liverpool Trent Alexander-Arnold 66 of Liverpool celebrates with Virgil van Dijk 4 of Liverpool after scoring to make it 1-1 during the Premier League match Manchester City vs Liverpool at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, United Kingdom, 25th November 2023 Photo by Conor Molloy/News Images Manchester Etihad Stadium Manchester United, ManU Kingdom Copyright: xConorxMolloy/NewsxImagesx

5) Signing a new left-sided centre-back

Injuries have been cruel to Liverpool this season.

While Van Dijk isn't getting any younger, it would appear a knee injury has brought the curtain down definitively on Joel Matip's Anfield career, meaning the Reds must desperately recruit a centre-back in the summer.

The right side is well-covered by Ibrahima Konate, Jarell Quansah and Joe Gomez, but the same can't be said for the left-hand side, where Van Dijk is the only natural fit.

A high-level recruit is needed for that side which would allow for the captain's minutes to be managed and to provide an eventual replacement.

What's more, if the new manager were to favour a back three, a left-footed centre-back would be key for providing better balance.

Piero Hincapie, of Alonso's Leverkusen, has long been linked. Reuniting the pair at Anfield would therefore make a lot of sense.

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