Downing has admitted that he took a lot of stick last season as he struggled to perform as his price tag suggested, however the winger has now received the backing of his new manager.
"He has been excellent," Rodgers said. "He is technically strong and physically quick and that aggressive part of his game is coming back, which is important.
"I have seen him since he was a young player at Middlesbrough and he had periods at Villa where he was excellent.
"Obviously coming to a club like this the first season is always going to be difficult but he is a player who has a lot of talent and he wants to work hard."
Downing made 28 league starts for the Reds last season.