Leaving of Liverpool will be painful for Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers was close to immortality at Liverpool Football Club. In 2014 he was just ONE win away from delivering the league title to Anfield that the supporters craved.
Eighteen months later he finds himself out of a job he loved. Football in the 21st century.
To Rodgers, who as a youngster growing up in Carnlough listened intently to his dad talk about the swagger and style of great Brazilian teams, football has always been the beautiful game. He knows all too well how ruthless it can be too.
The leaving of Liverpool will hurt Rodgers.
Sure, there is a mega-money pay off which is estimated to be worth around £8 million, but the 42-year-old from Northern Ireland would much rather still be in what he saw as a dream job proving his managerial worth.
Ultimately results and an increasing disillusionment amongst fans did for him.
The fact that very few signings in his three year reign delivered on a consistent basis didn't help either, though it is worth pointing out that some of those who arrived and flopped were not the Ulsterman's choice.
Liverpool's much talked about transfer committee should take a large portion of the blame here too. The committee's plan to continually sign youngsters with potential failed time and time again.
Scorelines, supporters and signings. And don't forget Stevie G.
Last season I wrote in this newspaper that the Liverpool manager who was in charge when Gerrard departed would face problems, quite simply because he was the greatest player the club ever had and the Grand Canyon like void he left was always going to be impossible to fill.
It wasn't just the fact that Gerrard's influence was missed on the pitch when the going got rough, as it did in the last month, it was missed off it too by the Kop, who could see no superhero in front of them throwing on a cape to come to the side's rescue.
Had Gerrard been playing against Norwich and Sion at Anfield over the past few weeks, somehow he would have dragged the team to victory instead of having to settle for frustrating 1-1 draws.
It was a massive call for Rodgers to tell Gerrard last season that his games would be limited going forward.
Perhaps asking the iconic skipper to become a player/coach may have bought him more time.
As it was, Rodgers only got 11 games this season having brought in several new players including Christian Benteke, James Milner and Firmino in his latest attempt to put together a winning team.
Eight games into the Premier League Liverpool are in 10th, yet only three points off that coveted top four place.
The other three games were 1-1 draws against Bordeaux and Sion in the Europa League and another 1-1 draw with League Two Carlisle in the Capital One Cup at Anfield, eventually scraping through on penalties.
Hardly inspiring stuff, but 11 games in, the American owners were fast on the trigger.
Rodgers feels with justification that he should have been given more time to blend his side, believing with Daniel Sturridge (pictured below) finally back from injury, the Reds could move forward with intent.
Not to be. The Yanks have decided that Rodgers is no longer the man for them.
He took the decision with dignity. Not surprising. He's that type of bloke.
I've known him for quite some time and speak as I find....he's always been a gentleman with me.
In recent weeks although knowing the pressure was on, he told me how much he was still enjoying the role and that the intense scrutiny showed the level he was working at. He was embracing the challenge.
Forget the football stuff for a moment. What impressed me most was him as a man, never failing to ask how my family was doing.
He will look back on his time at Liverpool with pride and disappointment... pride that he lifted the team and fans to heights in the Premier League that Liverpool had never experienced before.
In the 2013/2014 season, under Rodgers Liverpool played their best football since they dominated the English game in the 1980s.
Luis Suarez, Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson. Philippe Coutinho and Gerrard took teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton apart with scintillating displays.
Rodgers had promised the supporters 'Death by football' when he arrived in the summer of 2012 and the Kop came alive when his team delivered. In song they even called him the new Shankly.
That season was sensational for Liverpool fans who lined the streets for the arrival of the team coach to home games.
Then came Gerrard's infamous slip against Chelsea at Anfield and the title escaped Brendan's grasp. Suarez left for Barcelona, Sturridge got injured and Sterling started to play for a move.
The disappointment comes from leaving earlier than he hoped or expected.
Rodgers will be back in England or abroad. He is an excellent coach. We haven't heard the last of the man from Carnlough.
Liverpool 1-1 Norwich, Liverpool 1-1 Sion, Everton 1-1 Liverpool
And while dejected that his three year reign in charge of the Merseyside club is now at an end, he will have been intelligent enough to know, given results at the end of last season and the start of this one, that there was
Last night he was
Brendan Rodgers was sacked an hour after Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison.
The news that the Northern Irishman was dreading was delivered by Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon in a transatlantic phone call after Rodgers had got off the team coach at Melwood.
Chief executive Ian Ayre then explained the decision in person with Anfield chiefs saying the devastated 42-year-old showed "incredible dignity".
Rodgers was told that FSG's faith had been eroded by a succession of mediocre performances which had resulted in the Reds collecting just 12 points from eight matches this season.
The owners believe a new manager would get more out of an under-achieving squad which was bolstered with £80million worth of signings this summer. They felt they needed to act now in order to salvage a season which they feared was going off the rails.
The decision was taken before Sunday's Merseyside derby and not even victory over the Blues would have saved him.
For now, Rodgers' backroom staff of Sean O'Driscoll, Gary McAllister and Pep Linders remain on the payroll. O'Driscoll and McAllister are expected to take training at Melwood this week for those players who haven't gone away on international duty.
Liverpool are adamant that will be no imminent announcement over Rodgers' successor. Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti are the two clear frontrunners but FSG insist they will only start making approaches over the coming days.
The plan is to have the new manager in place for Liverpool's next game away to Tottenham on October 17.