Brendan Rodgers' hugely successful two-year tenure as Swansea City manager has officially come to an end today.
The 39-year-old Northern Irishman has taken over at Liverpool in an opportunity that he said was 'too good to turn down'.
Rodgers was presented as the new Reds boss at a press conference this morning after a compensation package was agreed with Swansea.
In my life and in my football, I have been very happy in Swansea. But when an opportunity to work at a club which is more than a club comes round, it's a professional challenge which is too good to turn down.
But he expressed his 'deepest gratitude' to Swansea, adding that they'd 'created history'.
The only thing I want to say about Swansea and Wales is my deepest gratitude and thanks for everything they've done. It was a real special two years at Swansea City for me, we created history, we became the first Welsh team into the Barclays Premier League. It's a sad day to leave Swansea of course because I have so many friends there, what we created has been incredible really and I have huge respect for them as a football club. Thanks to the club and to the nation of Wales, as my time there with the media and the people has been incredible.
Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins said on Wednesday evening that Rodgers had informed him that he wanted to take up the offer at Anfield, and that Swansea will quickly begin the process of finding a replacement.
Jenkins said he didn't wish to stand in Rodgers' way, and reluctantly allowed discussions with Liverpool to continue.
He originally rejected the advances of Liverpool's owners two weeks ago, saying he didn't want to be involved in a wide-ranging interview process.
He's understood to have moved ahead of other candidates - such as former Swansea manager and current Wigan boss Roberto Martinez - in their wish list, and, when Swansea were again contacted by Liverpool on Tuesday night, Rodgers said he wanted to talk to them.
Swansea now face a tough task to find a replacement who can continue the momentum which has taken them to an 11th-place finish in their first season in the Premier League.
After a successful spell at Watford, and a less successful one at Reading, Rodgers took over at the Liberty Stadium in July 2010 when Paulo Sousa left for Leicester. He guided the Swans to the top flight at his first attempt, via play-off final victory at Wembley.
Swansea won a great number of admirers during their first season in the top flight, for compelling possession football which also got results. Memorable victories over Arsenal, champions Manchester City and - on the final day of the season - Liverpool, secured a mid-table finish just two weeks. Rodgers was winning plenty of admirers himself, and, ultimately, the chance to take over at five-time European Cup winners Liverpool proved too tempting to turn down.
Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins' statement in full:
I was contacted by Liverpool last night and they expressed their wish to speak to Brendan regarding their vacancy. I had a discussion with Brendan to talk about their interest and his views on whether he wanted to speak to Liverpool. He expressed his wish with me to do that and he has spoken to Liverpool today. Following on from discussions with Liverpool's owners, Brendan has informed us that he would like to take up their offer to manage Liverpool. At the moment we are currently in talks with the owners to agree compensation. We are trying to finalise that within the next 24 hours. Although we are very disappointed to lose such a talented, young British manager, we didn't wish to stand in his way. As always at Swansea City, we want people working here who are fully committed to the task ahead. We wish Brendan every success in the future. We will always remain good friends and we thank him for all his hard work and passion at this football club over the past two years. We shall now refocus and quickly start the process of finding his replacement to continue the great work Brendan has carried out at this football club.