Rodgers: Downing goal will boost confidence
By Football News
Brendan Rodgers hopes Stewart Downing's dynamic strike against Anzhi Makhachkala will help improve his standing with the Liverpool fans.
Winger Downing cut inside on to his weaker right foot before rifling a shot past Anzhi goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov to win the Europa League tie at Anfield.
Rodgers pushed Downing into the centre of the pitch to accept the praise after the match and believes the goal will have been a huge confidence booster for the fringe player.
"It was a wonderful strike by Stewart and he scored a great goal," Rodgers said.
"It's been difficult for him since he's been here.
"I think (telling him to approach the Kop) was just something to help his confidence.
"I think the Kop recognised it was a wonderful bend on the strike and if he can get a round of applause from them, then that would mean a lot to anyone, to a player, manager or a coach.
"And you saw how they reacted accordingly - they gave him a great round of applause and that will hopefully do him well going forward.
Rodgers was particularly impressed with his side's third consecutive clean sheet and with the way they pushed forward throughout the contest.
"Anzhi have got a terrific group of players and so to get a win and keep another clean sheet was excellent," he said.
"But I thought we deserved it, I thought our intent in the game was to go forward and in the second half we stepped it up and did very well."
Up next for Liverpool is the Merseyside derby away to neighbours Everton on Sunday and Rodgers insisted his squad will be in peak condition despite having players out due to injury.
"For us it's just about taking it one game at a time," he said.
"The squad is not overly big but the condition of the players is very good so I have no concerns about that.
"Their work rate in training and in the games has been very good. So we'll recover well. It was a very good performance and result tonight and now we are all really looking forward to Sunday."