Harvey Elliott has paid tribute to Blackpool manager Neil Critchley after scoring his first Liverpool goal against the Seasiders.
The Reds ran out 7-2 winners against their former Under-23s boss’ side in their final pre-season friendly on Saturday, with the 17-year-old coming off the bench to claim a goal and an assist.
While not officially off the mark for the Reds, the winger was delighted to score for his boyhood club.
And having made eight appearances for Liverpool after signing from Fulham last summer, including two under Critchley in the cup competitions, Elliott thanked his former boss for his role in his development.
“It’s a great feeling to score for my boyhood club. It’s been a dream ever since I was a little boy, it’s a dream come true,” the winger said after the final whistle.
“I need to keep going and keep putting in the performances. Hopefully many more opportunities will come.
“I had a little talk with him (Critchley) before and after (the game). Critch is a wonderful guy, he helped me out a lot last season.
“The way he fed me into the Under-23s environment and got me involved with all the boys when I was new. I can’t thank him enough for all the opportunities he gave me as well.
“I wish him all the best and I wish Blackpool all the best.”
This summer marked Elliott’s first pre-season with Liverpool, having only joined the club in August last year.
And while it was a shortened schedule in preparation for a truncated campaign with increased fixture congestion to get the sporting calendar back into place, the teenager believes LIverpool are well-placed to defend the Premier League title.
“All the staff at LFC have made this the best possible pre-season for us,” he said. “They gave us every opportunity possible, for example sorting out the Austria trip at the last-minute.
“The way they’ve handled sessions and what we do in between sessions, I think they’ve put us in the best possible position to hopefully go and win the title again.”
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Making two Premier League appearances last year, Elliott didn’t officially win a medal though his manager made sure he got one for his efforts.
However, he didn’t see his Under-23s team-mates Curtis Jones and Neco Williams do enough to qualify for a medal, while Rhian Brewster has shone for the Reds in pre-season following an impressive half-season loan with Swansea City.
Inspired by his young peers, and having been given that taste with the Liverpool first team, he is now determined to keep making the most of any senior opportunities that fall his way and prove he is capable of following in their footsteps and cementing himself in Klopp’s senior set-up.
“My main goal is to get in the team and get a few appearances here and there,” Elliott said when looking ahead to the new season.
“As you can see from today, it’s a very hard team to get into. There are a lot of world class players here.
“But even just the experiences training with these guys every day and being around the coaching staff every day is a dream come true.
“Any opportunity I get I’m very grateful for and hopefully I can prove to the gaffer that I can live up to the standards.”
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