Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson has praised teammate Stewart Downing's recent contribution to the Premier League side.

Downing was heavily criticised at the start of the season and was even granted permission by manager Brendan Rodgers to leave Anfield in January. 

The £20million winger has scored four goals and claimed five assists so far this season, an input which Johnson believes Downing should be commended for.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Johnson said: "He's been brilliant. I've always enjoyed playing with Stewart - I've been a big fan of his for many years. 

"We play well together and cause other teams quite a lot of problems."

Johnson, who has had a successful season himself for both club and country, feels Downing's work goes unrecognised as it is usually flair players like Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard who grab the plaudits. 

He added: "Stewart has been fantastic; his work-rate, the way he gets at players and defences. A lot of the time in football, a lot of hard work can go unnoticed.

"Stewart did knuckle down, put his neck on the line and went for it. It's great to see that now he's getting the rewards and credit he deserves."

Johnson will face former side Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday as they look to close the gap on neighbours Everton and the automatic European qualification places.

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