Liverpool director of research Ian Graham is the man behind a lot of the club’s small triumphs over the last few years, the New York Times reports.

Two of his biggest victories over the last few years come after he convinced Jurgen Klopp that Mohamed Salah at £34m and Naby Keita at £48m were integral to the project the German has been working on at Liverpool over the last three and a half years.

In a fabulously detailed article from the New York Times, Bruce Schoenfield explains the crucial and understated role that Ian Graham plays at Anfield.

Anfield.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

He writes: “Graham recommended that Liverpool acquire Mo Salah, who was thriving in Italy.

“Graham’s data suggested that Salah would pair especially well with Roberto Firmino, another of Liverpool’s strikers, who creates more expected goals from his passes than nearly anyone else in his position.

 

“That turned out to be the case. During the season that followed, 2017-18, Salah turned those expected goals into real ones ‘There’s this idea that Salah failed at Chelsea,’ Graham said. ‘I respectfully disagree.'”

Mohamed Salah.

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

The director of research also found Keita and recommended him to Klopp, with the Guinean arguably the perfect midfielder for the German’s style of play.

Graham’s role at Liverpool underlines how well-run the club is, with the football on the pitch a simple by-product of a well-oiled machine working as well as it possibly could.

If the Reds win the Champions League next month Klopp will get most of the credit but FSG have put key men in place like Michael Edwards and Ian Graham and couldn’t be praised enough.

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