(Video) Stewart Downing ends all the jokes by scoring a beauty for Liverpool v FC Gomel

The jokes are over.

After 36 barren Liverpool matches, over 2478 minutes of complete non-goal activity, on Thursday night the nightmare ended for Stewart Downing.

To recap, having signed for Liverpool at the start of the 2011-12 campaign for a reported 20 million pounds, Downing contributed zero Premier League goals and zero league assists in a troubled first year at Anfield.

So bad was Downing’s season, his last Premier League goal on British soil remains his final-day-of-the-season winner for Aston Villa against Liverpool way back on May 22, 2011.

Note: Downing did score two goals for the Reds last season against Oldham and Stoke, but both those goals came in the FA Cup.

It wasn’t as if Downing lacked the chances to score last season.

Memorably, the Liverpool winger was handed the chance to slam home a penalty against Chelsea, however Downing missed from 12-yards whilst simultaneously acquiring the awful honour of becoming the first player to miss three penalties in a row in the Premier League since Juan Pablo Angel in February 2005.

But now the monkey has been ripped off Downing’s back. Maybe.

Against all expectations, the first competitive goal of the Brendan Rodgers era at Liverpool came from Stewart Downing. As if full of confidence, Downing cut inside his marker and cracked home a fine strike in the 67th minute to had the Merseysiders a 1-nil win.

Is this an omen of good things to come on the LIverpool horizon?

Watch. This. Space.