Liverpool 4 Fulham 0: Rodgers heaps praise on ‘brilliant’ Downing
Liverpool 4 Fulham 0: Brendan Rodgers heaps praise on Reds midfielder Stewart Downing for a match-winning display
Brendan Rodgers heaped praise on “brilliant” Stewart Downing after Liverpool were comfortable winners against Fulham on Saturday.
The Reds took an early lead when Martin Skrtel produced a stunning volley in the penalty area after the Cottagers had failed to clear a corner.
Downing teed up Steven Gerrard for Liverpool’s second, with the winger’s pass dissecting the Fulham defence and the Reds skipper on hand to finish past Mark Schwarzer.
Downing then fired past the Fulham shot-stopper in the 51st minute to add a third, before Luis Suárez scored on the stroke of full-time.
“I thought Stewart was brilliant today, in every aspect of the game,” Rodgers said.
“I spoke to Stewart about six or seven weeks ago and we had an honest conversation about where he was at. He’s in his late 20s, he was an England international a few years ago and he wasn’t playing [regularly for Liverpool].
“So we spoke about how he could get into the team. And I think his reaction from that moment, like it has been for Jose Enrique and one or two of the others, has been outstanding.
“His goal today was a fantastic strike and he combines very well with Glen Johnson out on the right side because he clears space for Glen to run into. Stewart’s movement is really intelligent and his pass for Steven’s goal was superb.
“You’ll find with attacking players, because their job is always to take people on, if it’s not quite happening for them, they need that bit of support. But all they can do is work hard.
“Stewart has played a lot of games. He’s a very important member of our group at the minute and if he keeps performing like that, hopefully he’ll establish himself in [the side] and show the talent he clearly has.
“If he keeps playing like that, he’ll be going nowhere – he’ll be staying in the team and that’s what it’s about.”