Liverpool have offloaded winger Stewart Downing to West Ham after a disappointing career at Liverpool. Downing was signed by former manager Kenny Dalglish in July 2011 for a fee of £20 million in a summer of big spending for Liverpool.
But since Dalglish’s departure Liverpool’s owners have altered their strategy under Brendan Rodgers by reducing the wage bill. Rodgers had moved high earners on to pastures new and brought in new players on lower wages.
Joe Cole, Andy Carroll, Pepe Reina and now Stewart Downing were all big earners and have now been moved out.
Downing looked an exciting acquisition at the time, an experienced England international who played on the wing was the ideal player Liverpool were looking for at the time when they had very few wide men.
But Downing struggled at Liverpool and only contributed 7 goals in 91 outings for the club. It was a poor return for such an expensive signing who was reportedly on £80,000 a week.
Downing’s highlight during his 2 year Spell at Anfield was his man-of-the-match performance in winning his only honour with the club as Liverpool defeated Cardiff City in last year’s League Cup Final.
Far too often Downing would fail to deliver a telling ball into the opposition penalty area for Liverpool’s strikers. Even when Downing cut inside from the right flank to create a shooting opportunity on his favoured left foot, he very rarely hit the target, never mind score.
Brendan Rodgers criticised Downing shortly after becoming manager at Anfield and even started young Raheem Sterling on the wing in preference to Downing at the start of the season.
But Rodgers brought Downing back into the side later in the season, although he revealed in December that Downing could leave the club.
Downing became a regular for the remainder of the season, but not always in his familiar role on the wing, Rodgers frequently used Downing at left back.
In fairness to Downing his performances were much better last season than in his first season with the club. His work rate was impressive and he looked a more confident player. But for all Downing’s endeavour and new found confidence, Downing is a player that lacks “heart”, the heart to go in where it hurts to score a goal, the heart to not shirk a tackle, but most importantly for a player who plays on the wing, the heart to take a defender on and get to the bye-line, Downing never did this enough at Liverpool.
Liverpool never got their money’s worth from Downing and decided to cut their losses on an expensive failure with a costly weekly wage.
You can’t fault Downing’s effort but he just wasn’t good enough for Liverpool Football Club, and he now continues his career alongside another Liverpool failure, Andy Carroll at West Ham.
Brendan Rodgers is starting to shape his own team after transferring players that don’t fit into his style of play, and by bringing in players that do.
Rodgers has allowed another player with a wealth of experience to leave the club and Liverpool now have a very young squad with not many “old heads” in the squad, as Liverpool look to youth to take them forward.
Rome wasn’t built in a day but Rodgers is gradually building his empire with young, enthusiastic players that he hopes will take Liverpool back to where they belong.
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