Gerard Houllier has officially parted company with Liverpool after weeks of intense speculation regarding his position at Anfield.
Houllier's future has been the subject of intense speculation in the last week as the club prepare for next season.
The Frenchman spent six years with the Merseysiders and overcame a serious heart problem to lead the team to a cup treble in 2001.
However, despite clinching fourth spot in The Premiership and earning a chance to play in next term's UEFA Champions League, the Reds board have decided that the time is right for change at the helm of the club.
Liverpool finished some 30 points behind champions Arsenal and there will now be plenty of anticipation over who will succeed Houllier.
The Frenchman admitted he was sad to be leaving Anfield, but that he was heading out with many special memories from his time on Merseyside.
"I want to make clear how much the club means to me. I had intended to carry on my job but the reason we have agreed to part company is mainly because of the sudden excessive pressure on the board and myself," said Houllier.
"The pressure is something I can cope with, though some of you have tested me over the last 10 months. "But I thought it could be harmful for the players in next season's campaign and I also thought that it could jeopardise their performance and achievement.
"That's why we have agreed to come to this situation.
The club comes first, I'm not here for myself, I'm here for the club. The club will always come first for me.
"The club has meant six years of happiness for me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the players who have achieved so much, and to the fans for their support."
"I arrived here six years ago as a Liverpool supporter and I leave as an even bigger supporter.
"I may have left Liverpool, but Liverpool will not leave me. I will return to watch the team as a fan.
"The team and I have had a great relationship despite some of the mischief coming out recently and the club have considerably improved and I am glad that Rick has stressed that on and off the pitch.
"In my heart the club is one of most fantastic in world."
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry paid tribute to Houllier's impact at Anfield and felt a change was needed to turn the club into serious title contenders.
"After considerable thought and discussion the board have decided to part company with the manager and Gerard has accepted this with typical good grace," said Parry.
"We have always said we would review our position at the end of the season and that is what we have now done.
"Although we have reached the Champions League that is a minimum standard and not a goal.
"For a variety of reasons the board decided that change was necessary if we were to realistically challenge for the title next season.
"But this is not a day for anger, recrimination or speculation. It is a day for dignity and respect and I want to publicly thank Gerard for his considerable achievements during his time in charge.
"We all have very fond memories of the historic treble and the other trophies won but there were many other special occasions and I will personally never forget the reception given to Gerard after he returned from illness for the Champions League game against Roma.
"We had many good times together.
"Gerard changed things off the pitch too, bringing back both our pride and self-respect and instilling discipline and professionalism throughout the club.
"Whatever has happened today, he will always be a friend of the club and welcome at Anfield.
"Now we start the search for a new manager - today is the end of a chapter and tomorrow the start of another."
The search will now begin for Houllier's replacement with the likes of Celtic's Martin O'Neill, Charlton's Alan Curbishley and Valencia coach Rafa Benitez all thought to be among the board's top targets.