The Reds were in complete control throughout the 90 minutes against Martin Jol's struggling Cottagers, scoring twice early on through Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard. They added two second half strikes through Downing and then striker Luis Suarez to help put the seal on a perfect evening for manager Brendan Rodgers.
It was the much-maligned Downing, who has endured a difficult spell since arriving at Anfield in a big-money move from Aston Villa in 2011, at the heart of affairs, registering his first league assist for the club in laying on Gerrard's goal before scoring his first league goal for the club with a drive from inside the box.
"We needed a big performance, I thought it was perfect in every way," Downing told the official club website.
"Four great goals and we defended very well. A great team performance and the manager is very happy. We wanted to start well and get in front - but not only get in front, stay in front. When we get goals then concede sloppy goals, we end up drawing or falling behind.
"There was a bit of ruthlessness now in attacking and finishing the chances we had. That was the pleasing thing and the manager has stressed that we have to do that week in, week out - not just every third or fourth week."It was certainly good to get a goal and set the goal up for Stevie. I'm in the team and trying to do my best. I'd like to stay and contribute to the team.
"It's a great club, that's why I came in the first place - to play with great players here. The only thing I can do is keep playing well and pose a problem.
"The squad is getting stronger and we'll probably reinforce in January. There are places up for grabs, so if you're not performing and not being ruthless in front of goal you'll be replaced. I think that's good for the team because it keeps players on their toes."