Europa League - Rodgers: Downing growing in confidence

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was eager for Stewart Downing to savour the moment after his superb strike proved the winner in their Europa League clash with Anzhi Makhachkala at Anfield.

Europa League - Rodgers: Downing growing in confidence

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Brendan Rodgers (PA Photos)

Downing - moved from the wing to full-back for the second half - cut in from the left flank in the 53rd minute to crack home a shot from outside the box.

It secured a 1-0 victory that moved the Reds to the top of Group A, and at the final whistle Rodgers urged the 28-year-old England international, who has struggled to make an impact since joining Liverpool in 2011, to go and soak up the applause of the home crowd.

Rodgers 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 was excellent.

"He had to play in a different position in the second half, but he has got the quality to do that."

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