The Wales international was the Reds' best player in the first half of Steven Gerrard's 2-0 testimonial win at Anfield against Olympiacos and could have had a hat-trick in the first half.
In the end he had to settle for one, sliding home Iago Aspas' low cross from five yards, but he displayed some of the desire to get into attacking areas which persuaded Rodgers to spend £15million in order to get former club Swansea to release him last summer.
Twelve months ago he began well, albeit playing in a deeper role, but his performances tailed off as a shoulder problem became more troublesome and eventually forced him to end the campaign prematurely in order to have surgery.
"The first three month of last season Joe was our best player by a mile but he had a problem with his shoulder which curtailed his season," said the Reds boss.
"It meant he could not have that aggressive streak which is part of his game.
"Joe has been terrific over the course of pre-season and he did very well.
"It is important we have a real strong competitive group as we are trying to build the depth of the group so that I can change the team in games and when we go to play against certain teams I can change the team about."
Substitute Jordan Henderson scored Liverpool's other goal just seconds after coming off the bench as Gerrard saw two of his fellow midfielders take up the goalscoring responsibility.
The Reds captain, celebrating 15 years in the first team, has had to shoulder the responsibility for driving the team forward for years but he is looking forward to being able to share the load in the latter years of his career.
- Sports & Recreation
- Steven Gerrard
- Iago Aspas