He is s***e’, ‘Overpriced c***’ and ‘He offers nothing except for crosses’ are some of the phrases used by some sections of the Liverpool fans to describe Stewart Downing. The £20m winger has indeed found the early part of his life at Anfield a bit difficult, thanks to some of the ‘fans’, and more importantly, the media.
Downing had a bright start to his Anfield career with a string of good performances in his first few games but that has quickly changed with a run of disappointing games in the Red jersey. Obviously, having played 15 games and 1139 minutes, without scoring a goal or making any assist doesn’t help either but when looking at those stats, one should consider that he has been quite unlucky as well. The England international has hit the post on 3 occasions (Sunderland, West Brom and Fulham) and has also seen strikers miss sitters from his crosses (Kuyt vs Man Utd, Carroll vs Swansea and Suarez vs QPR). Had luck been on his side, he would have had 3 goals and 3 assists already and everyone would be praising him.
Looking at some of the stats, Stewart Downing has a passing accuracy of 80%, attempting an average of 36 passes per game, which is only bettered by Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam in the Liverpool squad. Moreover, Downing made 78 key passes last season, ahead of the likes of Gareth Bale, David Silva and Nani. This season, he has already made 32 key passes and he stands in 6th position. So, it is clear that he is making chances, but if those chances aren’t being converted into goals, it’s clearly not his fault.
Most of the criticism aimed at Downing is because of his hefty price tag. Yes, he isn’t a £20m player but its not his fault Kenny paid that much money for his services. We aren’t in the Champions League and to lure top English players to your club without European football, you’ve got to spend a premium.
Liverpool have lacked natural width for a long time, and that is why Kenny was tempted to pay so much money for him. He definitely has a lot of pace as well which Liverpool have lacked for quite a while now. People often forget that last season, we had Milan Jovanovic and Joe Cole on the wings, so its definitely a big improvement from that.
All in all, Stewart Downing isn’t a David Silva or a Nani, but he has his own attributes which make him a top player. Lets hope he makes his amends against his former club on Sunday to silence the doubters.
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