"It's just to get games," said Rodgers.
"He had a stop-start season last year with his injuries and I just felt this year he needed to go and play football.
"I have a real belief in Fabio - he is a talent and we've seen that on occasions, but he needs to be playing regularly to demonstrate that talent."
Rodgers explained the presence of Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland was a key factor in allowing the 22-year-old to move to Wearside.
Rodgers added: "We had a host of clubs wanting to take him, but with Sunderland having the Italian connection there and being a big club where he can go and play, I'm sure he'll get the chance to shine and we'll look closely at his development this year."