The story of Brendan Rodgers' journey from unemployment to the heights of the Barclays Premier League, in the space of five years, captures the indomitable spirit of the Northern Irishman.

Liverpool's transformation from a seventh-place finish in 2012-13 to a team capable of competing towards the summit of England's top flight has captured the attention of the country this season.

But Rodgers' personal development path is equally interesting - a remarkable rags-to-riches tale which begins with two hugely challenging moments that crucially shaped the course of his future.

Having started his managerial career with Watford, the boss was snapped up by Reading in 2009, but his tenure at the Madejski Stadium was short-lived and ultimately brought to a close after six months.

"I got the sack on December 16," he recalls. "It was 5pm on a Wednesday and my first thought was to ring the family to make sure they heard the news from me first.

"My objective then, because it was the first time in my life I was out of work and out of football, was to make sure it did not spoil Christmas for my family.

"After that I went to Dubai to reflect for 10 days and started to write in the sunshine about my experience; how it could have been different, what I could improve, what I should take into my next job? What areas would I be better when I was next a manager?

"I was getting ready to go home and my mother died on February 3. So there I was, out of work, and now had the two biggest voids in my life - the loss of my mother and football."

The 41-year-old's response was the mark of the man. Determined to find a route back into the game, Rodgers wrote to a number of clubs with an outline of his credentials.

He continues: "I was recovering mentally and decided to go to the gym, get myself fit and then started writing to a few clubs to see if I could get a job, or even an interview for a job. I didn't get anything."

In hindsight, it seems unfathomable that he would receive little in the way of encouragement. But that was the scenario facing the aspiring coach: "There were three clubs. I received a reply from two.

"Two clubs were in the Championship and one in League One. I didn't get an interview and so I thought my managerial career was over before it had started."

Of course, it wasn't. Swansea City offered Rodgers a lifeline, and he grasped it, guiding the Welsh outfit to promotion to the Premier League and earning plaudits for an aesthetically appealing style of football at the highest level.

Liverpool came calling in the summer of 2012 and, as the Carnlough-born boss nears the end of his second campaign at the helm, the Reds are in the midst of a seven-match winning streak in the league.

He concluded: "People say: 'What's your success?' The word for me is failure. How you succeed is how you deal with failure. Whatever way you dress it up, something hasn't worked.

"For the first time in my life, I felt I had failed at Reading. I probably read the script wrong, thinking I had three years and instead I had 20 games.

"I could either disappear and become an academy director, where I'd been for 14 years, or show character and perseverance and go again.

"Thankfully I was able to do that. I certainly have not had it presented to me. I found out the hard way. I respect former players who get the opportunity but I had to go down a different trail. I suppose that fear of failure is what drives me on."