Rodgers publicly questioned Downing's commitment while he was on Liverpool's books.
"He (Rodgers) was the one manager I had problems with," Downing told the Daily Mail. "I found it very difficult and the way it was handled - to come out in the papers and basically slag off your player by saying you don't try - that was poor really.
"If it's a one-one-one conversation and he wants to grill me, I can take that. But when it's open like that; I don't understand why some managers do it. You can lose the player completely. Did he do it as a gee-up? Maybe, but I didn't appreciate it. I got my head down, worked hard and got back in the team. I've always worked hard, probably because of the way I've been brought up. My dad would always remind me that football's a short career and that you need to make the best of it.
"That's why I found what happened at Liverpool difficult. That kind of thing can tarnish a player's reputation. If fans read that you don't try, it gives the wrong impression. I was finding it hard after the first season I'd had at Liverpool. When that came out, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement."
For the big stories and the banter follow us on Twitter: @tribalfootball