Brendan Rodgers prepares to lead Liverpool into action against one of his former clubs this weekend and insisted if it hadn't been for his time at Reading, he wouldn't be the manager he is today.
The Northern Irishman spent time on the Royals' playing and coaching staff before becoming first-team boss in June 2009 after leaving the helm at Watford.
However, Rodgers' return to the Madejski Stadium didn't quite go as according to plan and he left the club by mutual consent just six months later.
Nonetheless, the 39-year-old is philosophical about the experience and believes it has helped mold him into the manager he is today.
"I had a great upbringing as a coach with many great experiences," Rodgers explained to journalists at Melwood. "I became a manager at 35 and went to Watford.
"It was a perfect club for me and, the reality is, if it was probably any other club other than Reading I probably wouldn't have left there. The supporters at Watford were terrific, the board was outstanding and really supported me as a young manager, and the players were fantastic.
"After a slow start, we really flew after a couple of months and done very, very well.
"But the draw to go back to a club I spent 14 years at, and with people I knew there, some of the young players that were coming through at the time and the wonderful relationship I had with the chairman, John Madejski, just felt right.
"It was a difficult time at Reading because they'd just missed out in the playoffs. It proved to be a difficult six months, especially with what I was trying to implement which was always going to need that wee bit of extra time.
"But I came away from that and learned from the experience and reflected upon it. It prepared me going forward and I was able to take those things into the rest of my career. It allowed me to be much more clinical in my work when I arrived at Swansea, and thankfully it's gone quite well from there."
Reading gained promotion to the Barclays Premier League in the summer and will journey to Anfield in 18th position in the table having garnered three points from its opening six matches.
"They're a fantastic club and I'll always be grateful for Reading," Rodgers added. "They played a massive part in my life. I moved there when I was 16 years of age, my kids were born there and I lived in the town for nearly 20 years.
"It [spell at Reading] had probably been my only bad experience in football since becoming a coach and a manager. But I don't really see it as a bad experience — it was a great learning experience for me. I learned many things in that six months that allowed me to go on and hopefully carve out a career for many years in the game.
"Brian [McDermott] came in and done exceptionally well. He's got them promoted and they were outstanding particularly in the second half of last season to go on and win the league.
"When you come up, it is very, very difficult. You come up against better quality players who can really hurt you, but I'm sure they'll do very, very well. They're a wonderful club."
The clash with Reading is the third in a run of four consecutive home games for Liverpool.
Anfield has been the subject of many column inches this week after the Reds confirmed on Monday its preferred option is to expand the current stadium rather than construct a new venue.
"I'm sure it's great news for everyone," Rodgers said. "Obviously there's still a lot of work to be done, but this is the spiritual home of everyone involved with Liverpool.
"To have an extension to the ground would be great for the supporters, great for the players and hopefully regenerate the area as well, which is also part of the partnership.
"There is still a long way to go on that but it would be fantastic for everyone. It's a real iconic stadium and if we can get more supporters then it would be absolutely brilliant for everyone."
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