"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.
"With Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez, Iago Aspas and some of the other attacking players, that might have been limited.
"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."