Liverpool has officially confirmed the appointment of Richard Hughes as their new sporting director. Hughes previously worked his way up to technical director of fellow Premier League side Bournemouth. The Cherries, however, recently announced that Hughes would depart the club at the end of the current campaign.

The pending arrival of Hughes at Liverpool was certainly impacted by his relationship with Michael Edwards. Fenway Sports Group, the current ownership group of the club, recently hired Edwards as their new CEO of football. Hughes and Edwards have a friendship that goes back to their time together at Portsmouth in the early 2000s.

Upon agreeing to the move, Hughes admitted that he understands the magnitude of the role. The new Sporting Director is also cognizant that he will now have to make several good decisions heading into the summer. “I am fully aware of the expectations and responsibilities that come with taking this position,” Hughes proclaimed.

“It will be my job, working with Michael [Edwards] and leading the football operations team already in place, plus the wider staff at the AXA Training Centre, to make good decisions.”

“That’s really what the job entails: you have to make the kind of good decisions which enhance the prospects of having a team that wins and excites the supporters. It is what Liverpool have done well for a very long time and the benefits are there for everyone to see.”

Sporting Director must help find a new head coach at Liverpool

One of these big decisions will be finding a replacement for legendary manager Jurgen Klopp. The German is set to leave the Merseyside club at the end of the current campaign. As a result, the Reds must be diligent in their search for a successor at the helm.

Liverpool can now essentially accelerate their approach to bring in a new manager. As sporting director, Hughes will be a key figure in this process. Current Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso is undoubtedly the main target for the position. The former Red has the German side surprisingly atop the Bundesliga standings at the moment. Not only is Leverkusen dominating the league, but they are also undefeated in the entire campaign.

Alonso, however, is also thought to be the frontrunner to take over at Bayern Munich as well. The German giants are also looking for a new manager after announcing that Thomas Tuchel will part ways with the team in June. As a result, Alonso may be able to pick his preferred destination between the two top teams.

Brighton boss previously linked with Hughes

Assuming the former midfielder opts to remain in Germany, Liverpool will have to go to plan B. This contingency could then lead straight to Italian coach Roberto De Zerbi. Despite being born in Scotland Hughes grew up in Italy and began his playing career with Serie A outfit Atalanta.

Hughes is fluent in Italian and knows De Zerbi quite well. Mail Sport claims that Hughes previously attempted to bring the Italian manager to Bournemouth before the coach signed with fellow South Coast side Brighton. De Zerbi is currently one of the more sought-after young soccer coaches in all of Europe. After all, the Italian previously helped the Seagulls qualify for their first-ever European competition this season.