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Who is Pedro Marques? – Benfica technical director joins new Liverpool setup

FSG’s appointment of Benfica’s technical director, Pedro Marques, as their director of football development is another sign of how the owners want Liverpool and their potential other clubs to be run.

Along with Michael Edwards becoming CEO of football for FSG, the owners have now appointed ex-Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward as their technical director and Marques as director of football development.

At 41, Marques will leave Benfica after serving successfully as their technical director for six years.

While with the Portuguese giants, he has gained a reputation for helping to develop a conveyor belt of brilliant young footballers.

He has done that by creating a structure in which the players can thrive at an excellent academy complex with clear principles and philosophy.

 

Imposing a culture

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 17, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between BC Atalanda and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Speaking on the Training Ground Guru podcast in 2023, Marques explained the importance of having a clear style of play throughout the club.

He said: “If you look to our teams, we like to think that even if you play without a shirt you would recognise the way we play. That is in regards of systems of play, even if we have a base that evolves from five-a-side to 11-a-side.

“In 11-a-side we play mostly from a 4-3-3 base, although in the first team now we are playing more with a 4-4-2.

“It is not so much about the system as the principles and ideas and what we want to show on the pitch in terms of the identity and connection with the fans.

“That style of play is a base for everything we do. It is about intensity, having initiative on the game, to play with the ball, press high, regain quickly, to score a lot of goals, to create a lot of chances.”

It is those last two lines that will most appeal to Liverpool’s owners, as they try to maintain a similar philosophy at Liverpool and transfer it to new clubs they may purchase.

To start with, he will spend time on Merseyside and his job will require him to work with Liverpool’s new sporting director, Richard Hughes, and academy director Alex Inglethorpe.

 

How he got here

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Wednesday, September 29, 2021: Benfica's Darwin Nunez prepares to take a penaty kick during the UEFA Champions League Group E Matchday 2 game between SL Benfica and FC Barcelona at the Estádio da Luz. Benfica won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Twenty years ago, Marques became an academy coach at Sporting and quickly rose to become their head of performance, analysis and scouting.

This led to him getting a job at Man City as an analyst under Roberto Mancini.

He did this for four years before being promoted to the global lead of football performance for the City Football Group.

In 2018, he returned home to Portugal to become Benfica’s technical director, a role in which he excelled and helped maintain Benfica’s impressive record of producing talented youngsters – recent examples include Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo and Fabio Silva.

Six years later he is back in England, working officially for FSG, though his early work should be primarily based around the Reds.

 

A meeting with Liverpool

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)

Back in 2019, you may remember Liverpool played a behind-closed-doors friendly match against Benfica B before the Champions League final.

The Athletic report that it was Ward who contacted Marques from Liverpool’s end, while he was working under Edwards.

This is due to Ward and Marques knowing each other from their time at Man City.

Before that, Ward also spent time as Portugal’s head of analysis and technical scouting, so will have had his future colleague very much on the radar.

 

His new role

Marques will take up his new role as FSG’s director of football development on June 1.

It is a job that is expected to entail maintaining a style and culture of how to play football throughout Liverpool, before he moves on to work with other clubs.

Described by The Athletic as “erudite, multilingual and affable,” the Portuguese could be the perfect man to help create a dynasty after Jurgen Klopp‘s departure.