Neil Critchley has officially left his role as Liverpool Under-23 manager to take over as new head coach at League One club Blackpool on a contact until 2023.

Critchley had been at Liverpool since 2013 in the Under-18 setup until 2017 and then moved to his Under-23 coaching positions. But the 41-year-old found himself in the spotlight earlier this season when he was twice tasked with managing a Reds team in first-team cup games.

Neil Critchley

Fixture congestion in December saw Liverpool forced to split resources between the Carabao Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, with Critchley leading a largely teenage side in the former while Jurgen Klopp and the first team simultaneously headed to Qatar for the latter.

On that occasion, Critchley’s kids were thrashed 5-0 by Villa, but he was again in charge for an FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury in early February that the Reds won.

The second time it happened was more controversial as Klopp had become embroiled in a battle with the FA over the replay intruding on the Premier League winter break, refusing to use any first-team players or himself even attend the game against the lower league side.

Liverpool academy director Alex Inglethorpe described Critchley’s departure as ‘bittersweet’, with disappointment that he is moving on, yet delight that his skills have been recognised.

“Blackpool want Neil because of the work he’s done at Liverpool and it shows to everyone within our system that if you work hard and work smart then rewards are there,” Inglethorpe said to

“Neil epitomises the best qualities of a modern coach: leadership skills, intelligence, compassion and a hunger for individual and collective improvement. Blackpool are very fortunate to have him and we wish him well.”

On joining his new club, Critchley told Blackpool’s official website, ”I can’t wait to get started, I’m really looking forward to the weeks and months ahead, meeting the players, working on the grass, developing the team and meeting some of the supporters.

Neil Critchley

“The time I’ve had at Liverpool has been truly special. I’ve been incredibly well supported there from Alex Inglethorpe, the academy manager, and all the staff. It’s a truly special football club and it’s the people that make the football club the place that it is. It would have had to have taken something equally as special, if not more, for me to even think about leaving.”

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