LONDON: Brendan Rodgers admits he would have feared for his job at Liverpool had he not engineered the radical mid-season recovery that has led the club to the brink of a top-four spot.
Although the club's American owners stood firm behind the manager after a poor start and an early exit from the Champions League, Rodgers says he knew he needed to act to sustain his board's support.
That was the basis on which he changed Liverpool's formation, introducing the 3-4-3 last December that has pushed the club to the fringes of the Champions League places, as well as ending any speculation around his immediate or long-term future.
"After the Crystal Palace (defeat) in particular, I felt it doesn't matter how much support you have, the team is not functioning and it could not go on. I respect and understand that," said Rodgers.
"My experience at Reading told me that. That's what I learned from that sacking there. I went in with the full backing of the chairman, who was great to me, and I got the sack after 20 games.
"What I learned from that is it does not matter how much support you have in the boardroom - from the directors, the executives - you have to get results and you have to win.
"I call that a fortunate period in my career because it paved the way for my learning here. I needed to make sure that I was going to make decisions which would allow us to get back to at least somewhere near where we were.
"I certainly wasn't going to roll over and die. I love it here and I want to be successful here. The transformation in the team has been really good to see and to see the confidence, and everyone talking about the system and how dynamic it is, and the fluency. I should have done that earlier." Rodgers admits it was in the aftermath of the Champions League exit to Basel he realised he had to find solution.
"It was not working," he said.
"We had a huge challenge - probably the biggest I have had as a coach or manager. We had no identity and everyone could see it. We just weren't the team I had built.
"You try to give everyone a chance but it just wasn't happening for us and of course that can eat away at you. Every manager will tell you the same, you're thinking of the game all the time, locking yourself in a room and analysing, looking at ways to make the team function.
"I knew I had to do something radical because I had seen enough of the players to know we were not going to be able to shape up and work and play as we had done for the previous couple of years with what we had.
"I am an innovative coach, and I needed to find a way to make us play better."