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Michael Edwards' stance on next job as opportunity to return to Liverpool emerges

Michael Edwards' old role as Liverpool 's sporting director is set to become available once again following the shock departure of his replacement, Julian Ward.

The ex-Anfield chief quit his post in June and was replaced by Ward, who'd been working closely alongside him for a number of years. But now the Reds are already searching for his replacement, as the ex- Morecambe midfielder, 41, will step down next summer.

Ward's decision is said to have left club chiefs stunned, with director of research Ian Graham also following him out of Anfield. He's believed to want to take a break from football - and that's reportedly how Edwards feels, too, as he remains unwilling to take on his next job.

Ward's departure opens the door to Edwards to return to his previous role, and it would seem likely he would be welcomed back given how successful he was previously. At present, Edwards appears focused on a break from the game, although it is unclear whether that will extend to the end of the season when Ward steps down from his position.

Edwards hasn't been short of offers either, and it was a proposal from Chelsea following their £4.25billion takeover led by Todd Boehly which uncovered his intentions. The Athletic reported in August that the Blues had made an approach for Edwards to join their new-look Stamford Bridge hierarchy, but saw their offer promptly turned down.

Edwards had been Chelsea's top target but he informed the Londoners that he wished to take an extended break from football following an intense 11-year stint working for Liverpool, which saw the Reds climb back up to the top table of European football. His stance rules out any prospect of an immediate return to the game - disappointing news for the Blues then and now, likely, Liverpool.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, whose era in charge at Anfield wouldn't have seen the same success without Edwards' expertise, paid tribute to his former colleague when it was confirmed that he'd be leaving at the end of the 2021-22 season. "I wish Michael and his wonderful family all the best, for whatever they choose to do next," Klopp declared.

Julian Ward will step down from his role as Liverpool sporting director at the end of the season (Liverpoolfc.com)

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"I know he isn't leaving immediately or in haste, which is cool, so we still have some time to work together. If we are as fortunate and blessed as we have been so far, maybe we can create more special memories for our club in this remaining time. He has been a constant presence during my period at LFC and his contribution to our success is clear for everyone to see."

Edwards had kinds words for his successor, backing Ward to continue 'the Liverpool Way'. Writing in his farewell letter to fans, he stated: "Julian's elevation is wholly in keeping with what I believe to be a key factor of the Liverpool Way, with promotion from within ensuring expertise, experience and institutional knowledge are cherished in the way that they should be."

Sadly for the Reds, it's been a shorter tenure than anticipated - and Edwards doesn't appear to be their saviour.