The Reds meet Bellamy's Cardiff City this weekend.
Rodgers told liverpoolfc.com: "It's one of my only regrets, really, that I never got the chance to work with Craig.
"I've followed him in his career right the way through; an outstanding player, very honest, speaks his mind, but is an ultimate professional.
"He always prepares himself well. He's given his life to being a footballer. He's a big Liverpool supporter and did very, very well here.
"When I came in, he had a year left on his contract but for other reasons he needed to move back home - and that was a regret because I've always seen him from the outside as someone who was very passionate about football, but who had great qualities."