BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 10, 2011: Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger during the Premiership match against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool identify Arsenal chief as replacement for key backroom role

Liverpool have identified Arsenal‘s head of medical services Gary O’Driscoll as the leading candidate to replace the departing Andrew Massey.

Massey is set to leave his role as Liverpool’s own head of medical services on March 1, as he takes up a position with FIFA.

This comes after six-and-a-half years with the club, and leaves a big hole in Jurgen Klopp‘s backroom staff, with the Northern Irishman key to a major improvement for the Reds on and off the pitch.

News of his exit emerged in mid-December, with Liverpool beginning a search for his replacement, who will work with the likes of Andreas Kornmayer, Philipp Jacobsen and Christopher Rohrbeck.

According to the Mail, O’Driscoll is their primary target at this stage, with Arsenal “fighting to prevent” him from leaving for Merseyside.

O’Driscoll is “widely recognised as being one of the best in his field,” having joined the Gunners in 2009 after previously working with the Ireland rugby team.

He has also served as official doctor with the British Lions, and combined duties in the first months of his role with Arsenal, which he told the Guardian soon after joining is a “24-hours-a-day job.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 5, 2020: Liverpool's Neco Williams (R) and manager Ju?rgen Klopp before the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 235th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Born in Manchester, joining the Reds would allow O’Driscoll to return to the northwest, and in Jurgen Klopp he would find a manager with similar values to his former boss, Arsene Wenger.

In the same interview in 2009, O’Driscoll praised the Frenchman, saying “unlike some rugby coaches I have worked with, [he] never puts pressure on me to get a player back on to the field before he is fit.”

The 49-year-old currently works with former Liverpool head physio Chris Morgan, who joined the Gunners in 2018, having left the Reds in 2016 as part of a shakeup of Klopp’s staff.

It remains to be seen whether O’Driscoll will leave the Emirates for Anfield, but it seems unlikely these reports would emerge unless the move was probable.