BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 13, 2017: Liverpool Under 18's manager Steven Gerrard sits on the bench alongside Under 23's coach Neil Critchley ahead of the UEFA Youth League Group E match between Liverpool and Sevilla at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Ex-Liverpool coach sacked by Championship club after 71 days

QPR have sacked former Liverpool coach Neil Critchley, who they appointed as head coach in December, after a run of 11 matches without a victory.

Critchley joined the Championship outfit after another ex-Liverpool academy coach, Michael Beale, left the club to take over at Rangers.

However, despite a win in his first match in charge, Critchley’s QPR team failed to pick up three points in any of the 11 that would follow, including defeats in their last three games.

That run of form led to increasing pressure on the 44-year-old, and on Sunday evening the club confirmed Critchley, along with assistants Mike Garrity and Iain Brunskill, had been relieved of their duties with immediate effect.

When he took over at the end of last year, QPR were ninth in the league table and just three points off fifth, with a push to finish in the play-off spots on the horizon.

But their form under Critchley has seen them slip to 17th, with the London club now closer to the relegation spots than they are the top six.

Having initially joined Liverpool as under-18s manager in 2013, Critchley did an impressive job in charge of the Reds’ U23 side between 2017 and 2020, before being handed his first shot at management with Blackpool in League One.

In his first full season in charge, he led Blackpool to promotion via the play-offs, but in June 2022 he left to take up a role as Steven Gerrard‘s assistant boss at Aston Villa.

Four months later, the day after Gerrard was sacked, it was announced that Critchley would also be leaving the Premier League club.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 4, 2020: Liverpool's Under-23 manager Neil Critchley during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On paper, QPR looked to be the ideal destination for him to step back into management, but given their poor form, QPR CEO Lee Hoos said the club “felt it had to act.”

“It is hugely disappointing to have to make such a decision so early into Neil’s tenure with the club,” he said.

“However, after seeing the team slip from play-off contenders to one being drawn into a relegation battle, the Board felt it had to act.

“There is no doubt Neil inherited a difficult situation when he joined and we would like to acknowledge his superb work ethic and professionalism throughout our dealings.

“He is a fantastic man and we have no doubts he will go on to be a success elsewhere, just as he was at Blackpool.”