LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool colleague expects “business as usual” despite Julian Ward exit

Though the news of sporting director Julian Ward’s exit is a setback for Liverpool, academy director Alex Inglethorpe expects “business as usual.”

Ward has communicated his plan to leave the club in the summer, handing in his resignation after less than a year in the role as sporting director.

His departure will, however, mark the end of over a decade at Liverpool, with there no reports of a move planned elsewhere, rather a break from the sport.

Nevertheless, it will undoubtedly impact the Reds, who are now required to find a replacement, with former Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat appearing to throw his hat in the ring via the German press.

Whoever takes over, though, Inglethorpe believes the approach will remain “consistent” behind the scenes at Liverpool.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the academy director, who has worked closely with Ward throughout his time on Merseyside, said it will be “business as usual.”

“It’s business as usual because I’ll be able to enjoy Julian’s company for the rest of the time that he’s here, just as I have the 10 years he has been here,” Inglethorpe said.

“He is hugely talented. Of course, anybody that talented will be a loss when they leave.

“But whether it’s been Michael Edwards who has left or Julian, the club and the thinking will remain consistent.

“The way we would want to go about our work will be consistent after Julian leaves.”

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 13, 2021: Liverpool's (L-R) Academy Director Alex Inglethorpe, xxxx, non-executive director Kenny Dalglish, and Head of Senior Academy Recruitment Matthew Newberry during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and West Ham United FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Taken at face value, this is certainly encouraging, with Inglethorpe familiar with the inner workings of Liverpool’s recruitment setup and Ward’s duties.

However, whether that changes with an external appointment such as Mislintat remains to be seen, with the club’s last such arrival in a similar role being Damien Comolli in 2010.

Any new face will bring new ideas, and new working relationships with the club’s owners and the likes of Jurgen Klopp, head of recruitment Dave Fallows and chief scout Barry Hunter.

In that way, it may not simply be “business as usual” after Ward leaves, though the belief that things will be “consistent” marries in with an ongoing commitment to data-led recruitment.

Hopefully that is not further affected by the resignation of Ian Graham, who heads a six-man analytics team including data scientists and statistical researchers.