Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the game, Rodgers said: “Both players are fantastic players.
“Andy wasn’t let go from here because he wasn’t good enough.
“I think he’s one of the best players in Europe in how he plays. That style, that attacking the ball in the air, he’s outstanding.
“He needed to play and I think he’s gone on and done great for West Ham. When he’s been fit, he’s shown he’s one of the top players playing in that style of football. It certainly wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough.”
Rodgers also said that he didn’t want to sell Downing in the summer.
“He really progressed and he became a very important member of our team and squad.
“The money we were offered for him, it was going to help getting other players in that was going to help us on our journey. Unfortunately then, Stewart left.”
The Liverpool manager was asked about the side’s objectives for the season with the side top of the table – in the knowledge that if they win their final six games they will be crowned champions.
The Northern Irishman added: “Our objective was always to qualify for the Champions League. If we trace it back to the beginning of the season everyone recognised that was going to be a really difficult task for us.
“We’re in a great position, of course, at this moment but the finish line is quite a way out. People are looking at it with six games to go and thinking it’s nearly there but there’s still a way to go and there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Rodgers hailed the 4-0 win over Tottenham at Anfield last week as ‘psychologically’ their best of the season given that both Manchester City and Chelsea had dropped points the day before.
The Reds boss also said that they can’t afford to worry about any other teams and that they just need to focus on themselves.