Just three days prior to that, Liverpool suffered a home defeat to Arsenal, with Andrey Arshavin once again proving to be the proverbial thorn in the side for the men from Anfield. They would go on to finish that season in seventh place—and Rodgers would finish the season unemployed.
That summer, Rodgers would accept the task of leading Swansea City into the unknown, and Swansea would become the first Welsh team to play in the Premier League. As we know, it was a task Rodgers would complete within just one season—and it was the beginning of the road to managerial stardom for the then-38-year-old.
Fast forward to the present day, and Liverpool have just outclassed Manchester United at Old Trafford to confirm to everyone that they are the big shakers in the title race. With Brendan Rodgers at the helm, that is something many thought would never happen. But, whilst the attacking triumvirate of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard—among others—will grab the headlines, Rodgers has become one of the most revered managers in Europe.
If you are constantly checking the Internet for footballing rumors and stories, you may have come across a story (per Steve Bates at Mirror Football) detailing that Barcelona are considering making a move for Rodgers' services. That may well be nothing more than a rumor, but it indicates just how highly Rodgers is regarded.
The style of football is the first and most prevailing thing that comes to mind when analysing Rodgers' managerial style. He has turned Liverpool into a slick, stylish side that are easy on the eye. He did at Swansea, too, underlining that it is not just the players that have created that philosophy, but Rodgers, too.
In this modern age of football, slick football is something that is revered all across the globe. Barcelona—the club who are supposedly courting Rodgers—have become famous for it and have become loved for just how well they play the game. Similarly, the Spanish national side have drawn plaudits for it.
However, there isn't a side in England that have been able to play the game with such panache and style as Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool. For him to be able to do this with a side containing such a bulk of English players gives great hope that England's future could be slightly brighter at international level.
And it is that group of English players that has endeared Rodgers to the hearts of many in terms of his managerial ability. It is often noted that there is a succinct difference between a manager and a coach. Managers manage a side and bring them together as a group. Coaches coach players and develop them, helping them flourish. Rodgers is both of those.
When Liverpool paid a lavish amount of money for Jordan Henderson, Kenny Dalglish was revered for wasting such a bulk of cash on an Englishman. However, Rodgers has developed Henderson into a midfielder that could quite conceivably be considered a key figure for England at the World Cup. The passing ability of Henderson has seen him become part of the frame that makes Rodgers' Liverpool side tick so seamlessly.
But it isn't just Henderson. Steven Gerrard—a man who has been the heartbeat of Liverpool and England for years—is now flourishing in a new, deeper role for the Anfield men. That has enabled the men in front to play with the security of a player of Gerrard's ability behind them—a priceless asset.
Raheem Sterling had much promise when he broke onto the scene with Liverpool, as did Jon Flanagan. However, they both suffered dips in their career in the intervening years—but Rodgers has rejuvenated their careers. Sterling should be a certainty for the trip to Brazil later this year, and even Flanagan could be a possibility. Throw Daniel Sturridge—whom Rodgers has transformed from a fringe player at Manchester City and Chelsea into one of the deadliest strikers in the world—into the mix, and you have a manager who is doing the business with English talent. Isn't that what we, as England fans, so desperately crave?
The fact that it is being done with so much English talent is even more admirable when it comes to Brendan Rodgers. He should be applauded for putting his faith in homegrown players—and he is getting the results that faith deserves.
Liverpool will be back in the Champions League next year—a place they truly belong. That will be a step up for a club that have been out of the European spotlight for the past few years—but with Rodgers in charge, anything is possible. Sacked by Reading in 2009 to potentially a Premier League winner with Liverpool in 2014. That is one remarkable transformation. Credit to Brendan Rodgers.