Sacked Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers pays for poor run of results
Brendan Rodgers may have claimed there was an external agenda aimed at ousting him from the club but results are what got him sacked as Liverpool manager.
Just hours after a 1-1 draw in the 225th Merseyside derby Rodgers was informed, via a trans-Atlantic phone call from an unnamed member of the management executive of owners Fenway Sports Group, that his time was up.
Despite backing him in the summer with an £80million transfer kitty after a woeful finish to the 2014-15 season the Americans, led by principal owner John W Henry, decided their experiment with a young, progressive manager was over.
Press Association Sport understands the search for a replacement will focus on a candidate with a proven pedigree.
That immediately strengthens the case of three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti, who has been successful in Italy, Spain and England, and ex-Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp - both of whom were frontrunners even before Rodgers' sacking was confirmed.
There is a feeling within FSG that a new man will get better results and performances with the existing squad of players.
Which, read another way, is they did not think Rodgers was maximising the resources he had at his disposal.
And there is the crux of the matter. Rodgers spent the best part of £300million in just over three years in charge and while a thrilling Luis Suarez-inspired side came within touching distance of a first title in over two decades in 2013-14, there has been a gradual decline ever since.
Not all of it was Rodgers' fault, with the sale of Suarez to Barcelona obviously a key factor. But when you lose 6-1 at Stoke - as they did on the final day of last season with an expensively-assembled squad - alarm bells start ringing with those signing off the cheques.
However, just four wins in his last 14 Premier League matches effectively did for him with FSG needing little persuasion to make a U-turn after sticking by him in June.
Rodgers, who met with close ally Ian Ayre, Liverpool's chief executive, after receiving the phone call from the United States is understood to have taken the decision with dignity - which partly suggests he half-expected what was coming.
"Although this has been a difficult decision, we believe it provides us with the best opportunity for success on the pitch," said a joint statement from Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon.
"Ambition and winning are at the heart of what we want to bring to Liverpool and we believe this change gives us the best opportunity to deliver it.
"The search for a new manager is under way and we hope to make an appointment in a decisive and timely manner."
For the last few days there has been speculation Rodgers was a dead man walking and the timing of his sacking - at the start of the international break - is no coincidence.
It is believed Liverpool hope to have a new man in place for when the players return from international duty so he is given the best possible chance to get off to a good start away at Tottenham on October 17.
A decision is yet to be made on the future of Rodgers' coaching staff - assistant boss Sean O'Driscoll and coach Gary McAllister, with Pepijn Lijnders promoted from the academy to work on player development - who were only brought in this summer.
"We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Brendan Rodgers for the significant contribution he has made to the club and express our gratitude for his hard work and commitment," said the joint statement.
"All of us have experienced some wonderful moments with Brendan as manager and we are confident he will enjoy a long career in the game."