Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughDown(ing) and Out? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Down(ing) and Out? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Down(ing) and Out?

Stewart Downing revealed in saturday’s match day programme that he has been given permission to leave Liverpool if he wants. Surely this is good news for both parties?

Downing’s performances since his move to Liverpool have drawn under huge criticism, and it’s not hard to see why – he doesn’t do anything! This isn’t your generic criticism either, the numbers aren’t pretty: His total goals and assist for the Reds in the league reads like my bank balance – zero.

In fact, in 65 appearances for Liverpool in all comps Downing has a pathetic four goals and five assists, and the vast majority of those games were played at either right or left wing.

His form was a problem that Dalglish, the manager that signed him, never addressed. But it hasn’t been so with Rodgers at the helm. In October the Reds manager openly criticised him, questioning his desire and stating that “talent alone is not enough” – a comment that would sting any English player.

Now one of Liverpool’s top performers, there was a point where Enrique wasn’t playing well and wasn’t available, and Downing was played at left-back. In some ways (lack of attacking offering, physical presence) it seemed a suitable move for him, but he failed to convince in that position either. With Enrique back better than ever, the move switch isn’t a solution.

He has offered glimmers of reasoning for his £20m cost; some Europa League winners, and last years quality shift in the League Cup final, but that’s all they are – glimmers.

His inconsistency is symptomatic of a team playing like Liverpool and Rodgers will want it cut out. But where will he go? Can’t think of anyone? You’re probably not looking low enough.

The two woeful eyes staring back at you when you check his Prem stats for Liverpool aren’t coincidentally linked to his highlights in other competitions; goals against Gomel, Anzhi Makhachkala, Stoke, Oldham and a MotM award vs Cardiff – he is out of his depth in the Premiership.

Whether he wants to face these facts or not, it would be best for everyone but Liverpool’s accountants if he parted ways and maybe slipped down the English football ladder a bit. I can hear Middlesbrough calling now.