Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers delighted to see Stewart Downing on target against Anzhi

Stewart Downing: Grabbed the winner as Liverpool edged out Anzhi at Anfield

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Stewart Downing can take heart from his match-winning display against Anzhi Makhachkala.

Having become something of a forgotten man at Anfield, Downing cracked home a superb 53rd minute effort to hand Liverpool a welcome UEFA Europa League victory on Thursday.

It has been a testing time for the England winger, but Rodgers has called on him to savour his moment in the spotlight and build on a positive showing.

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."

Deserved

Victory over Anzhi saw Liverpool take top spot in Group A and Rodgers believes his side deserve immense credit for the professional performance they put in against an ambitious outfit.

He added: "Anzhi have a terrific group of players - they have invested heavily in it and they have a top manager.

"So to get a win and keep another clean sheet was excellent, and I thought we deserved it.

"I thought our intent in the game was good. We wanted to go forward, and particularly in the second half, we stepped it up and did very well.

"And it was a wonderful strike by Stewart - a great goal, and a good one to win the game."