Downing relieved Liverpool still in touch with the top
The Reds lost two games in a row in mid-September but have bounced back with two vital victories against Wolves and Everton in their past two to sit fifth on the table.
"It is easy to slip away from the pack when you lose a couple and we didn't want to do that," said the former Aston Villa winger.
"I think the two victories keep us in with that [pack] going into the international break.
"The derby win was a big three points for us. Winning meant a lot to the fans but the main thing for us was getting the three points.
"We needed it to stay in the pack.
"We're going into the break in good form and we have to ensure we keep it going."