Michael Edwards could relaunch Liverpool project with big money sale and two new incoming transfers

In a summer of sweeping changes at Liverpool, the club's goalkeeping department will be following the trend.

With a new head coach in Arne Slot joining a first permanent sporting director in a year in the shape of Richard Hughes and Michael Edwards, whose new and improved remit sees him take the position as Fenway Sport Group's 'CEO of football', the three key positions now have new faces at the helm.

Edwards will effectively become the 'new' Mike Gordon, the FSG president who was by far the most hands-on of the ownership group, while Hughes take on the mantle from Ward and more recently Jorg Schmadkte, who served as the club's sporting director for the summer 2023 and January 2024 windows.

READ MORE: Caoimhin Kelleher reveals Liverpool future plan as Arne Slot transfer talks planned

READ MORE: Arne Slot to unleash Liverpool £304m investment after FSG left shocked by manager plan

Slot joins the club with a handful of his backroom staff, with Ruben Peeters signing on as head of performance alongside assistant Sipke Hulshoff, whose own arrival has yet to be made official.

Friday's appointment of Hans Leitert, as FSG's head of global goalkeeping, keeps the theme of transition going and the Austrian's first task will be to appoint a new head goalkeeping coach at the AXA Training Centre, which is a process that is already said to be under way.

In the newly-created role, Leitert will oversee the development of goalkeeper coaches while implementing a data-driven scouting system, which is something Liverpool have used for a number of years. The Austrian, who has previously served as coach and technical observer for UEFA, will manage analysis, introduce a goalkeeper-specific training programmes and oversee specific pathways for potential No.1s.

The biggest aspect of his role will be to lead on the appointment of someone who will be the figurehead of an entirely new-look department at Liverpool after the departure of the long-serving and popular John Achterberg, a coach who was affectionately described as a "goalkeeping maniac" by Jurgen Klopp due to his dedication to the position.

With Achterberg's assistant Jack Robinson also leaving with the Dutchman, Liverpool's need to recruit is acute, even if Brazilian Claudio Taffarel is staying on for now. The 1994 World Cup winner has an excellent relationship with current No.1 Alisson Becker.

The shift in attitude in recent years towards goalkeepers at Anfield was evidenced by the dramatic leap in transfer fees between their most two recent first-choice goalkeepers.

Loris Karius was being hailed as something of a snip at around £4m in the summer of 2016 but after he failed to move out of the shadow of the 2018 Champions League final, when his two huge errors proved costly against Real Madrid, Alisson was signed for a then world-record £65m from Roma shortly after.

With Simon Mignolet's £9m purchase from Sunderland in 2013 the most the club had ever paid for goalkeeper before Alisson's purchase, the capture of the South American was something of a watershed moment for Liverpool when it came how they viewed goalkeeping.

Achterberg was known to store information on thousands of up-and-coming keepers from around the world and keep up to date with the latest trends across the position and while it was the former Tranmere Rovers man who was always integral for the recruitment of goalkeepers at Anfield, the opinion of Alisson was also regularly sought when it came to those who play in his position, with the Reds star widely thought of as the best in the world around the AXA Training Centre.

It's why the No.1 will likely continue to be sounded out for his take as the department continues to evolve behind him this summer. Six years on, he remains firmly in place as the first choice glovesman and widely regarded as one of the world's elite. Speculation linking him to Saudi Arabia has been given the short shrift of late with the club planning for the Slot era with the Brazilian on board.

Behind him, however, there are plenty of moving parts that will need a resolution, not least the future of Caoimhin Kelleher, who was honest about his own situation when speaking to reporters in Ireland on Friday ahead of international duty.

Kelleher is planning to hold talks with Slot upon his return to Merseyside but has conceded that it might be time to think about his own long-term future as a first choice elsewhere.

"I think it's a good moment for myself coming off the back of the season where I played the most games I ever have," Kelleher said. "My confidence is obviously very high and, like you say, I think clubs will have been looking as well and seen me play, so there'll hopefully be some interest elsewhere.

"It's obviously given me a lot of confidence and I think that time is right now. I don't know what's happening yet with Liverpool but I'm open to all options. If I do move, everything has to be right for myself, it has to be the right club, the right thing for myself and that could be in England and it could be abroad, to make the right decision it has to be a good fit for myself most importantly.

"I can't make the final decision to say that I want to go and leave, there's a lot from the club as well, if they feel they need me to stay and need me as cover. At the end of the day, it's not fully my decision if I want to go and leave because obviously the club have the final say."

With Kelleher having played close to 30 times last term, including a clean sheet in a Carabao Cup final success over Chelsea at Wembley, Liverpool will be able to fetch a healthy sum for a player who arrived as a 15-year-old from Ringmahon Rangers.

Player valuations at Anfield are often swayed considerably by the market trends of the time and last summer saw transfers like David Raya (Brentford to Arsenal on £3m loan with £27m fee set), Robert Sanchez (Brighton to Chelsea £25m) and Andre Onana (Inter to Manchester United £47m) all take place.

Further down the Premier League and James Trafford (£19m), Dean Henderson (£20m) and Bart Verbruggen (£16m) all made Premier League moves themselves last summer so the Reds will have plenty of examples to point to for their eventual valuation for a two-time League Cup winner, should Republic of Ireland international Kelleher agitate to move on. With Edwards back in the saddle, the Irishman won't be offloaded on the cheap, that much is certain.

A departure, though, will mean a replacement will have to be on the agenda for the Liverpool recruitment team and with Alisson's injury history far from perfect - he missed 17 games across the entirety of the 23/24 - an adequate deputy will need to be sourced. To do that effectively, a new department will need to be brought in, which is something Leitert is already overseeing.

The future of Adrian is also part of the equation. The veteran Spaniard hasn't played a competitive game since the 2022 Community Shield but remains an important part of the day-to-day setup. Having played well over 200 times in the Premier League, losing a third-choice of such experience and quality will add to an already lengthy to-do list for those restructuring Liverpool's goalkeeping team. It's why Leitert has no real time to waste in his bespoke role.