After setting up Raheem Sterling's opener, the 25-year-old put two goals past the Black Cats on Wednesday night to seal all three points for the Merseyside outfit.
And Rodgers lavished praise on the striker, suggesting that playing as often as possible was the best way to keep him on top form, before comparing his professionalism with that of Messi's.
| LIVERPOOL LATEST
|7/1||Liverpool are 7/1 to finish in the top four with Paddy Power
"He's a striker that has to play two or three times a week to be on top of his game - one game a week is no good to him. He needs to be playing.
"And you see the response you get from him. His work has never dropped. Like Messi he is a real team player and trains every day.
“He is never in the treatment room and then he comes out and performs. As the ball moves he finds the spaces. He's a wonderful talent, and it will be fantastic to see him develop here."
QPR boss Harry Redknapp also echoed Rodgers’ comparison to Argentina international Messi after the London outfit’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on December 30.
“I was talking with Harry Redknapp after our game at QPR,” Rodgers explained. “He said Luis is a Messi-type character,”
Adamant that a challenge for Champions League football is still possible, Rodgers has admitted a good run of results could build up enough momentum to propel the club into the prestigious top four come the campaign’s end.
"I believe the second half of the season we can up the tempo and kick on as we have always hoped to do.” he continued. “You could see it in our performance tonight [against Sunderland], we have the capacity to do that. It's about consistency from now, and I hope we can get that.
"We were disappointed with the performance against Stoke, but six goals and two clean sheets is the perfect reaction to that, and it's nine points from 12 over the difficult Christmas period."