Brendan Rodgers: A successful failure at Liverpool?

    Story highlights

    • Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool on Sunday.
    • The club have won only four of their 11 matches this season.
    • Rodgers almost led Liverpool to the Premier League title in the 2013-14 season

    (CNN)A young manager with a vision. Committed to attacking football. Had a creative tactical solution to any problem. Took a team from seventh to the brink of a thrilling English Premier League title for the first time in over two decades.

    A young manager out of his depth. Foolishly overconfident and always ready to deliver cringe-worthy quotes. Poor judge of talent. Unable to arrest the slide of a proud club.
      Brendan Rodgers can be described both ways. The latter explanation is why he's no longer manager of Liverpool. Yet a number of Liverpool fans will be sad to see him go as this storied club with a tradition of giving managers time to find success lost patience with the Northern Irishman.
      But, it's not hard to see why Liverpool's U.S. owners sacked him.
      The start of this season too closely resembled the disastrous end to last season when Liverpool were thrashed 6-1 by Stoke City. Despite a summer break, despite new coaching staff, despite new signings, Rodgers was unable to fix Liverpool's endemic problems.
      Brendan Rodgers sacked as Liverpool manager
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        Brendan Rodgers sacked as Liverpool manager


      Brendan Rodgers sacked as Liverpool manager 00:51
      Even so arguably Rodgers has the potential to be a truly great manager.
      "He's a top manager and I learned so much from my time with him, especially about this side of it, about the management side of it," said Swansea manager Garry Monk after hearing Rodgers had been sacked.
      The first two seasons of Rodgers' reign show all of his best qualities, notably his tactical flexibility. The possession happy Liverpool of Rodgers season one was a very different side to the attacking whirlwind of season two.
      Players like Jordan Henderson showed consistent improvement, a sign of good coaching. He developed young players like Jon Flanagan, Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling. And then there was Luis Suarez.
      The Uruguayan is often cited as the reason Liverpool almost won the title in 2013-14. But it's wrong to underestimate the part Rodgers played.
      One of the first things Rodgers did at Liverpool was to offload Andy Carroll and build the team around Suarez. Hindsight should not cloud what was at the time an incredibly bold move from a young manager to discard the club's record signing.
      His faith in Suarez paid off handsomely in one season, one magical season, where Liverpool came so close to a league title.
      No Liverpool supporter will forget it: Suarez's goals, the thrashing of Everton, putting four past Arsenal in the first 20 minutes, the nail-biting 3-2 win against Manchester City... and Steven Gerrard's slip as the title dream died.
      In Suarez's autobiography -- "Crossing The Line: My Story" -- the former Liverpool striker spoke admiringly of Rodgers' philosophy.
      "The manager's methods really worked for us," wrote Suarez. "You could see a Spanish influence in the way that Brendan worked.
      "He was interested in Spain, he had studied there, and what he'd learned there was at the heart of our style of play: passing, pressuring high, quick movement, arriving into the area rather than standing there waiting for it, coming inside from wide positions."
      It's arguable Liverpool, or Rodgers, have never really recovered from Gerrard's slip against Chelsea as the Merseyside club fell short in that 2013-2014 season. It has been all downhill from there.
      The departure of Suarez that summer didn't help; but that was compounded by the injuries that kept Daniel Sturridge out for most of the following season. Between them, the two had scored 52 of Liverpool's 101 league goals in 2013-14.
      Rodgers made serious errors in the disappointing campaign that followed the title challenge.
      The defence wasn't fixed. Poor signings were made. And the widely mocked decision to field a second-string side against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the Champions League must have soured the mood in the squad.
      Yet Rodgers was never cynical.
      When faced with a problem -- and that Liverpool team were full of them, some certainly of his own making -- Rodgers always chose to innovate his way out. He always believed in his ability to create a clever tactical solution to his problems.
      It's easy to mock Rodgers. Sometimes it's hard not to, given the things he says.
      But here is a young, progressive manager who believes in a positive, attacking brand of football. Here's a British manager choosing to employ this philosophy at one of the biggest football clubs in the world. And for one glorious season, it almost worked.
      Rodgers had to go. But, he'll go with thanks and appreciation from many Liverpool fans for all that he did for the club.