The 28-year-old accepted that a slow beginning to the encounter cost his team, who were trailing after five minutes.
"We just didn't start brightly enough," Downing told Liverpoolfc.com after the match.
"The manager said we didn't start playing until we were 2-0 down. He stressed from the start that this was a difficult game, probably one of the hardest of the season.
"They are scrapping for their lives and, to be fair, they were the better team on the day. You've got to give them credit for that. We started too late."