Stewart Downing backs Liverpool team-mate Andy Carroll to hit goal trail

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing believes a goal in the Merseyside derby provides the ideal platform on which to build for striker Andy Carroll.

The Reds' £35million club-record signing broke the deadlock in the 2-0 win against 10-man Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

It was the England international's first goal in seven Barclays Premier League appearances this season, having only previously scored against League One strugglers Exeter in the Carling Cup.

Carroll scored twice - in the same game against Manchester City - in seven appearances last season after an injury-interrupted start to his Liverpool career having moved from Newcastle in January.

After a full pre-season the 22-year-old looks leaner and fitter and despite putting in some performances of promise he was short of a goal but Downing believes his strike in the 216th Merseyside derby will give the big centre-forward the confidence boost he needs.

"Andy's off the mark now. Without scoring, he's been doing well for us and he deserved it for his all-around play," said Carroll's club and international team-mate.

"That goal is a real bonus and for it to happen in the derby is extra special for him

"Andy is a quality striker and I'm sure he'll build on this.

"It was such an important goal as this was a big win for us."