Richard Buxton: Brendan Rodgers’ date with City of destiny
Leicester coach has gone from being denied title win by City to becoming Pep's potential successor
Sliding doors moments with Manchester City remain second nature for Brendan Rodgers.
The reigning English Premier League champions have held the keys to his destiny at various stages during the past decade.
More than most, the Leicester City manager knows just how cruel the Etihad Stadium's hand of fate can be.
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Had he taken up the chance to serve as Roberto Mancini's assistant in 2009, the Northern Irishman could have found himself replacing the Italian four years later.
That City denied him a historic title as Liverpool manager in the 2013/14 season only adds further insult to injury.
Within English football's upper echelons, Rodgers has appeared to be a perennial nearly man; good, just not quite good enough to scale the game's greatest heights.
But he knows that he can change such perceptions, when Leicester travel to the blue half of Manchester on Sunday morning (Singapore time).
Rodgers remains under no illusions that the resurgent Foxes cannot hunt down Liverpool's 10-point advantage at the EPL's summit. They can, however, still prove that they are not mere bystanders to Juergen Klopp's runaway league leaders.
Leicester's second place in the EPL is no fluke; neither was their improbable route to a first domestic crown in the 2015/16 campaign.
Rodgers' skill in blending the remnants from Claudio Ranieri's miracle men with a crop of burgeoning talent has already borne fruit.
Yesterday morning (Singapore time), they reached the League Cup semi-finals for a first time in two decades, following a penalty shoot-out victory over Everton.
He sees no distinction between mercurial talents and those who belong in mid-tier. Character rather than chutzpah currently reigns supreme at the King Power Stadium.
At times in the 46-year-old's managerial career, it often appeared that he conflated the two. His bruising downfall at Liverpool and subsequent road to redemption ended such notions.
Winning at the Etihad would not only cement Leicester's status as this season's undisputed "best of the rest", but also solidify Rodgers' credentials for what may soon lie ahead.
Doubts surrounding Guardiola's long-term future has presented a second chance for him to stake his claim for a future job at City, with Mikel Arteta's imminent departure to Arsenal obliterating the Citizens' succession plan.
Should the Catalan walk away in the summer of 2021, if not sooner, the champions could do far worse than consider his opposite number this weekend as a potential successor.
Rodgers' belief in the core principles which catapulted Guardiola to the game's pinnacle with Barcelona have remained undimmed since his own rise to prominence with Swansea City.
If he masterminds Leicester to another unlikely finish ahead of City in this season's EPL, the Etihad hierarchy will have another option when Guardiola leaves.