It should go without saying, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to mention the obvious: nobody will have wanted Brendan Rodgers to succeed at Liverpool more than Brendan Rodgers. For all his faults and flaws, the manager always seemed genuine in his desire to do well for the club. To put Liverpool back up on its perch.
After 16 months of mostly dire football and middling results, it was clear it was time for a change. However, that shouldn't make fans blind to the good moments Rodgers oversaw as manager of the club, and it shouldn't be used as a stick to beat him with. He tried his best. In the end, he fell short. And now the club moves on. So it goes.
However, that it was time for the club to move on there can be little doubt. The team may have looked somewhat better over the past few weeks, beating Aston Villa and looking lively at times against Norwich and Everton, but it was too little, too late after a disappointing start to the season and a disastrous 2014-15 campaign.
Looking back over Rodgers' last 31 games in charge—the total number of games Roy Hodgson oversaw in his brief, disastrous tenure—makes that clear. Over that stretch, limiting the results to regulation time, Rodgers had 13 victories, 10 draws, and 8 losses. That's 1.58 points per game in a league format and a 42% win rate.
Hodgson, during his tenure, managed 13 victories, 8 draws, and 10 losses for 1.52 points per game in a league format and a 42% win rate. Rodgers' narrow edge isn't comforting, not when he's been backed to the tune of £36M net per season on average. Arsenal have spent less during his tenure. Tottenham has had a negative average spend.
Rodgers may not have been given the platform to go toe to toe with Manchester City, but while the likes of Everton and Spurs were treading water, he was given money with the expectation he could narrow the gap. Instead, across the end of year three and start of year four he's barely managed better than a manager who was run out of town.
And a 31 game window actually flatters Rodgers' recent form by including eleven games that made up the bulk of 2014-15's brief mid-season resurgence. Over just the last 20 games in all competitions, Rodgers has 6 wins, 7 draws, and 7 losses. That's 1.25 points per game and a 30% win rate. That's less than 50 points extrapolated across a season.
That's worse than the form that got Liverpool's other manager under FSG—club legend Kenny Dalglish—fired. And Dalglish managed to win silverware in the midst of an otherwise disastrous 2011-12 season. A season when, over the last 31 games, he managed 11 wins, 8 draws, and 12 losses for 1.32 points per game and a 35% win rate.
Looking at Liverpool's next stretch—the next 11 matches that would wipe last season's good run off the books if all three managers were to be held to the same standard Hodgson was—Rodgers would have needed at least 4 wins, 4 draws, and 3 losses just to match what Dalglish managed. He would have needed 8 wins and 2 draws to keep pace with Hodgson.
Rodgers was backed by the owners. He was given time and money. He was given an entire season and another summer to rebuild following the departure of Luis Suarez. He tried his best. In the end, he fell short. And it was clearly time for the club to move on.