Brendan Rodgers backs match-winner Stewart Downing to kick-start his Anfield career
Brendan Rodgers believes Stewart Downing
can kick-start his Liverpool career after his match-winning performance against Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday.
The England winger scored a fine goal to help the Reds to a 1-0 Europa League victory over the Russian outfit and after a difficult first season at Anfield last term, Rodgers believes this could be a new start for Downing.
And the reception received by the former Middlesbrough and Aston Villa star from the Liverpool fans should give him added confidence for the future.
He said: "It has been difficult for Stewart since he has been here, and it was just something to help his confidence.
"I think the Kop recognised that it was a wonderful goal at the end and if you can get a round of applause from them, that would mean a lot to anyone - a player, manager, coach, whatever.
"You saw how they reacted accordingly. They gave him a great round of applause and that will hopefully do him good going forward.
"His commitment tonight was excellent. He had to play in a different position in the second half, but he has got the quality to do that."
Downing, 28, has won 34 caps for England since making his debut against the Netherlands in 2005, but he hasn't been included in Roy Hodgson's squad since Euro 2012 last summer.