And so, just like that, Brendan Rodgers is no longer Liverpool manager.
In truth, it had been coming for a while. Like, a whole season. Ever since Steven Gerrard slipped and gave away the title, Liverpool have been on a downward trajectory, and for all his posturing and proclamations, Rodgers was not the man to halt the slide.
In my view, the seed for Rodgers’ dismissal was sown in the way he dealt with the Luis Suarez departure. Rather than recognise that Suarez was the man that made his team tick in the year Liverpool nearly won the title, Rodgers was quick to extol his own managerial ability and tactical acumen.
Had the Northern Irishman have been candid about the fact that Liverpool sans Suarez were several steps below the elite, I believe that he would have been given an easier ride. But the reality is that Rodgers believed his team capable of greatness, whether the Uruguayan was in the side or not.
This assumption was proved unequivocally false, as Liverpool endured a wretched season last year, and an undignified start to this one.
In short, Rodgers had to go – and the only person surprised will be the man himself, who appears to have such an overinflated view of his own ability that it almost warps his decision-making process.
Of course, one of the key factors in the board’s decision to dismiss the manager will be his profligate behaviour in the transfer market; over £230 million spent in the last two years and very little to show for it.
Flop after flop has arrived at Anfield, and flop after flop has…well…flopped.
There is no doubt that Rodgers has some interesting ideas, and there is little doubt that he has ability as a coach; but what has been proved quite clearly in this debacle is that the man was not ready to manage a club with Liverpool’s expectation. We probably should never have expected him to be.
After all, Rodgers only had one Premier League season to his name before his unlikely elevation to the Anfield hotseat, having taken Swansea from the Championship only a season earlier. It was expecting a lot for Rodgers to make that jump, and during his first season in charge of the Reds, he didn’t exactly blow people away.
But somehow, the stars aligned in the next season, with Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge all experiencing an annus mirabilis; and leading plenty of pundits – and Rodgers – himself to believe that he was far more capable than perhaps he was.
The frank reality is that Rodgers didn’t deserve the Liverpool job, and although it has come after three and a bit seasons, he has finally been found out. The manager may yet be in charge of another top team down the track; but he’ll have to earn his stripes once again. Honestly, that process will be important for Rodgers, and help him to realise that he is a long way from the finished article.