Downing: Rodgers advice paid off

Stewart Downing has explained how taking Brendan Rodgers’ advice paid instant dividends as he fired the winner in Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over FC Gomel on Thursday night.

The winger cut inside from the right and drilled a left-foot shot home on 68 minutes to settle a tough contest in Belarus and secure a result that means the Reds have taken a big step towards the Europa League proper.

And afterwards Downing revealed how heeding the guidance of his new manager has already paid off.

The winger told in Gomel: “The ball fell to me and I thought about how the manager has been saying to come inside and get a shot off, so that’s what I was looking to do. Luckily for me it went in. I was happy with the strike.

“It was a tough game, which is what we were expecting. They made it hard for us, but our patience paid off. We kept the ball, kept moving it and we got our reward with the goal.

“We were lucky at times, but our back four defended very well.

“They gave us a good test and fitness-wise it was good for us. A lot of the lads played their first 90 minutes, so it was a good test for us and probably something we needed with the season only two weeks away.”

Downing operated on both the left and right flanks at the Central Stadion and insists he’s happy to fill whichever position Rodgers sees fit.

“I’m not fussed, as long as I’m in the team,” he stated. “That’s the main thing. The competition for places is hot here and wherever the manager sees me playing, I’m happy to play there.

“I got the goal from the right, but if he wants me to play on the left I’m happy to do that as well.”

Downing also reserved a word of praise for the Liverpool fans who braved the arduous journey to Gomel to show their support for the team.

He said: “It was brilliant to see them here. I was on about it with the lads – I can’t believe how much support we get in the countries we go to.

“Credit to them for travelling all that way and we could hear them over their fans. I’m glad we got the victory for them.”

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