How Liverpool’s new staff hires played role in 2019 Champions League success

Liverpool will see Julian Ward and Pedro Marques join Fenway Sports Group’s new structure this summer, with the incoming pair already familiar with each other.

It was widely reported on Friday that Ward would return to Liverpool as part of FSG’s revamped setup in the role of technical director.

He will begin work on June 1 along with Marques, who arrives from Benfica in the position of director of football development.

Ward has already worked at Liverpool in a variety of roles including, most recently, sporting director – but prior to that, he held roles at Man City and in Portugal.

While at Man City he worked alongside Marques, and their friendship helped Liverpool prepare for success in the Champions League final years later.

Ward and Marques are already close

MADRID, SPAIN - Friday, May 31, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp gives a team talk during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by Handout/UEFA)

The Athletic report that it was Ward who contacted Marques, who had taken up the position of technical director at Benfica, as the Reds sought friendly opposition in the buildup to their clash with Tottenham in Madrid.

With almost three weeks between the closing game of the Premier League and the 2019 final, Liverpool faced Benfica B during a warm-weather training camp in Marbella.

“Marques was more than happy to oblige,” The Athletic’s report explains.

“He took Benfica’s B team to Spain for four days, met with Liverpool’s backroom staff before the friendly and talked through how to set up tactically like Spurs.

“Everything went to plan: Liverpool won 2-0, mirroring the scoreline in the final the following week, and a young Benfica squad went away with shirts as well as memories.”

While the details of Liverpool’s meeting with Benfica B were already known, it is certainly interesting that the relationship between Ward and Marques made it happen.

How Marques could help FSG

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson lifts the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 tp win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is perhaps no surprise, then, that Michael Edwards sought to bring both into FSG’s expanded team, with the ownership group planning to purchase another football club.

Marques is expected to play a key role in this new venture, which could suggest Portugal will be a market to explore when it comes to investment.

READ: FSG’s “imminent” second club plans take shape with Benfica signing

However, his work as manager director of global football for the City Football Group, which saw him oversee Man City‘s many sister clubs including Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan and CA Torque in Uruguay, shows he is not rooted to his home country.

The fruits of his work with FSG are unlikely to be seen fully until years into the future, but it is interesting to hear that Marques has already played a small part in Liverpool’s success.