LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 30, 2017: Liverpool's Director of Football Michael Edwards during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“As important as Klopp” – Liverpool fans react as Michael Edwards confirms exit

Liverpool have confirmed the upcoming departure of Michael Edwards from his position as sporting director, with fans worried about the impact of his exit.

Edwards, who has been with the Reds since 2011, will move on when his contract expires in June, having been officially appointed sporting director five years ago.

It will be a blow to Liverpool, given the success of their recruitment during Edwards’ tenure, but there is optimism as Julian Ward will be promoted from his current role as assistant sporting director.

The signings of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Alisson and Fabinho are a credit to the work of Liverpool’s transfer figurehead, as are big-money sales for players such as Philippe Coutinho (£140m), Mamadou Sakho (£26m) and Dominic Solanke (£19m)

Ward’s work alongside Edwards, and previously in building relationships in various roles for Liverpool, Man City and the English and Portuguese FAs, should aid him in his role as successor.

But the immediate reaction to the news has seen concern among supporters, who have taken to social media to give their thoughts:

In reality, it is difficult to judge how much of a setback Edwards’ departure could be for Liverpool, with the hope being that Ward slots comfortably into the existing structure.

That fans have reacted so vocally to the career path of a sporting director – not a player, or even a manager – is a testament to both Edwards’ reputation and the currency of transfers in modern football.

Liverpool will, undoubtedly, move on without their sporting director – but it could well be a tough transition.