Brendan Rodgers probably had to go. If it hadn't been this week it would have been next week or next month. The writing, clearly, was on the wall, and in the end it was in the best interests of the club that the owners made the hard decision and acted swiftly when it became clear there was no way back for him. That doesn't make the end any better.
It's never fun, not for the fans or club staff and most certainly not for the man being fired, when years of hard work and all the hope and possibility end in failure and a parting of ways. It's never fun when a manager who gave his all over four summers and three seasons turns out not to have been the one to move the club forward. That, though, is where we find ourselves today, with Rodgers sacked and the club moving on.
"I am, of course, incredibly disappointed to be leaving Liverpool Football Club," began a statement from Rodgers released this afternoon. "It has been both an honour and a privilege to manage one of the game's great clubs for the last three years. I have worked every day to represent the club to the best of my ability, to develop both individual players and a team that the club's magnificent fans can be proud of.
"There have been some very memorable moments during my time at Liverpool, and I would like to thank all of the players for their hard work and commitment. The current squad is one in transition, but they have some real talent and are showing a strong sense of togetherness. I expect to see them continue to grow and develop over the coming weeks and I wish them and my successor well for the rest of the season."
All told, Rodgers oversaw 166 games as Liverpool manager, managing 83 victories along the way and taking Liverpool as close as they've ever been to winning the Premier League title in 2013-14. With Luis Suarez departing for Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge out much of the next season injured, though, he spent the next 16 months trying to find a way forward. A draw against rivals Everton marked the end of the road.
Rodgers has suggested that he will likely take some time off from football, though with a job opening at Sunderland there will undoubtedly be speculation about him getting straight back into the game. If he doesn't, it would be easy to imagine him heading to Spain or the Netherlands next season to continue his development as a manager away from the spotlight of the Premier League.
"Liverpool has a magnificent football heritage and I have nothing but respect and admiration for the history, tradition, and values that make the city and the club so exceptional," he added. "As well as my players, I would like to thank everyone connected with the club and of course the amazing Liverpool fans for their unwavering support, passion and dedication which has made my time at the club so special."
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