By ESPNSTAR.com Staff
Downing, who received a lot of flak from Liverpool supporters after a mediocre league campaign last season in which he had no goals or assists, scored the only goal of the match - a stunning long-range left-footed effort - in the 68th minute to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead going into the second-leg.
Speaking after the game, the 28-year-old revealed that it was Rodgers' advice that paid off for him.
"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," he told Liverpool's official website.
The Reds endured a torrid time against the underdogs with numerous close calls, but ultimately emerged unscathed.
"It was a tough game, which is what we were expecting," said Downing.
"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 also expressed his desire to fit into Rodgers' scheme of things for the new season, even if it meant playing in different positions.
"I'm not fussed, as long as I'm in the team," he stressed. "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."
Liverpool kick-off their campaign with a trip to West Bromwich Albion on August 18.