10 Nov 2011

JOHN ALDRIDGE: "He is clearly lacking self-belief..."

According to OPTA stats, Stewart Downing is second only to Charlie Adam when it comes to setting up shots for his team-mates. Shot assists are great, but the fact remains that the England International has now gone 15 hours without scoring or creating a goal for Liverpool. Anfield legend John Aldridge has some sympathy for Downing's plight.

Aldridge, who was lucky enough to have the likes of John Barnes and Peter Beardsley creating goals for him, observed:

"I’ve got some sympathy for Stewart Downing. He is clearly lacking self belief...and he's in need of some luck and a confidence boost.

"You don’t get a much better cross than the one he produced for the chance Andy Carroll missed early on against Swansea.

"It should have led to the opening goal but the fact remains that Downing still hasn’t scored a goal or created one this season.

"He looks scared to try one or two things and nothing seems to come off for him, but we all know he’s got great ability and I’m sure it will start happening for him soon".

Only 5 of Downing's 17 shots on goal this season have been on target, which is symptomatic of the poor finishing that has affected the team in recent weeks. If he sharpens up his shooting accuracy, he'll hit the target more, which will obviously lead to an increased chance of scoring.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. With all due respect, what are you talking about??

    "Shot assists are great, but the fact remains that the England
    International has now gone 15 hours without scoring or creating a goal
    for Liverpool"

    Shot assist means that he created a goalscoring opportunity, if it's missed it's hardly his fault, is it??

  2. It doesn't mean a goal-scoring opportunity was created. A shot-assist will be counted if, for example, Downing lays the ball of to someone 40 yards out, who then hammers the ball into row Z. You seem to be suggesting that Downing has put 20-odd certain goalscoring chances on a plate for his team-mates, which just isn't true at all.

  3. Downing has laid it on a plate for players like Kuyt and Carrol only for them to miss, if they score his confidence goes up and so on...

    I believe he is being given an unfair and hard time by some so called fans out there..

  4. So will an assist............. if you tee up a guy from 40 yards and he buries it, an assist is awarded

    How is shot assist stat misleading?? You can be sure every team in World football looks at shot-assist stat before assist stat

    That's what an assist is, the last person on your team to play it to you. Same for a shot assist, it's the same action. A shot assist becomes an "assist" if your teammate is good enough to finish, whether it be from 1 yard or 50+ yards a la Beckham

    I would agree that "assists" being awarded for teeing someone up from a free kick or huge distance or to Messi before he beats 6 players is a bit of a stretch, that is why using the stat in arguments is so vague. This is why talking about football is so subjective and the same stat can be used to reflect whatever you want it to

    A true assist, in my mind, is a sparkling through ball, an expertly delivered cross from byeline after skinning fullback. Not teeing up a free kick

    Ashley Young got 2 assists for merely putting his foot on the ball in Man Utd's 8-2 mauling of Arsenal (Rooney short free kick)

    Stats aside, my impression of Downing is that he has disappointed overall, however, if Henderson or Kuyt finishes against Man Utd and Carroll against Swansea we would be ahead of Chelsea and Downing would be lauded in the press

    I certainly agree that he has not put 20+ chances on a plate, but I know for sure he did 3 times and wouldn't be surprised if the number is 8 or 9

    His shooting has been woeful I accept

  5. I would like nothing more than for Downing to start scoring and creating goals; I know I've been on his case a bit but it's nothing personal - I just think creative players should score and create goals. To show that I'm not biased against, here is an article I wrote in 2008 arguing that Liverpool should sign Downing: http://www.liverpool-kop.com/2008/08/case-for-stewart-downing.html

  6. I think he should be a little more willing to try go past one or two players and have shots on goal himself. He just seems hesitant. 1 of the 11 shots that have hit woodwork for us this season was from his venomous strike after the power run couple games back. Do the same more often.

  7. I have made a comment on this forum before, without referring to opta stats, that Downing's shots at goal has been terrible.  This was my observation from the matches he's played in.  As supporters of LFC if we've failed to notice this, then we need to pay a little more attention during matches.  

    I hope he improves because the pressure is going to mount on KD.  

  8. Read somewhere before the Swansea match that Downing created 19 chances which have been fumbled by his team mates.

    Unfortunately if another player cannot put away the ball which has been produced by Downing then there is no chance of him being awarded with an assist and hitting the woodwork 3 times this season suggest that he has tried to score.

    That has been the story so far this season, chance after chance after chance wasted by the team...

  9. The fans expect a lot of Downing mainly due to his price tag.  If we just accepted that this is as good as he gets (because it is) and he has never really played any better on the left of midfield then maybe we could accept his consistent 6-7 out of 10 performances for the rest of the season.   We paid 20m to simply get him through the Anfield gates.....not because he is worth it. 

    The truth is some fans feel let down as we expect £2omillio, £35million and £16milion players to eventually be on the shortlist for world player of the year.  HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE THE CLUB TO REALISE FLAIR WINS MATCHES!! We've had these 1 dimensional signings with Houllier, Benitez, Hodgson and now Dalglish. 

    Fergie spent similar money on three players in the same position. 12mill Ronaldo, 18m Nani and 27 million Rooney.  I believe all three names now roll of the tongue of every fan in every football nation. 

    Instead of going all out, Kenny played percentages and out of this caution will emanate distrust and unrest especially if the ball is not hitting the net as often as £75million suggests it should.

    I have no fairy tale beliefs that Downing or Caroll will play any better than they are.  Going on their previous years performance and using our current tactics we can't squeeze any more out of their limited ability.

  10. Nani in his first season played 26 league matches and only scored 3. In all of his 41 matches his total only came to 4. Not sure how many chances of his were actually converted. Ok he was a bit younger but his following seasons goal tally was not much better. Ronaldo in his first season played 29 league matches with only 4 goals and in all of his 40 matches only 6 found the back of the net. Ronaldo only improved with 3 goals the following season. 

    The season is not over yet and all of this jumping onto the Downing bandwagon stuff is a bit premature I would say. Can we wait for the season to finish maybe?

  11. The point I'm making is Fergie signed great individuals and integrated then into a team.  we haven't done that.  We have signed good team players who will rarely produce individual moments of inspiration.  I prefer Fergies method.  Downing is what he is.  A good team player giving balance and all the solid stuff.  However if you can get hold of a player like Yoann Gourcuff, Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Mcmanaman, Maradona, Rivaldo, Messi or Johnnie Barnes and integrate them into a team structure history tells us that trophies will follow.

  12. From the above link Jpmuncey makes some excellent points on Downing.  And downing is still suffering from the same criticisms 3 years later.

  13. I don't mind you being on Downing's case

    I just don't like this sentence and the inherent contradiction therein, and it highlights how stats can be massaged and interpreted to highlight basically any point

    "Shot assists are great, but the fact remains that the England
    International has now gone 15 hours without scoring or creating a goal
    for Liverpool"

    "Shot assists" and " creating a goal " are not necessarily mutually exclusive

    If someone has created a lot of shot assists, it follows that they have created a lot of goalscoring opportunities. It is not their fault if chances aren't taken

    Klasnic from Bolton has more points in Fantasy Football than Suarez

    48 v 47

    Klasnic isn't anywhere near Suarez in footballing terms, but basic stats would tell you otherwise

    Following excerpt is apt

    "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments,
    and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support
    their positions. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt
    statistics used to prove an opponent's point

  14. mrburt

    We are not in the champions league and how many of the players you have mentioned are freely available?

    Like I said, lets wait till the season is up.

  15. Houllier spotted Ronaldo first but the club would n't match his wage demands.
    Rooney now as if he was going to join us!!!!!!!!!
    There is a young portugese winger in the reserves at the moment called tony silva and Sterling to name 2 coming through the academy

  16. You named all those players and none of them played in the Premier League or ever showed an intrest in playing in the Premier League in their prime Figo,Ronaldo,Maradona,Zidane,Rivaldo,Gourcuff and Messi are all happy playing in Spain and Europe.

  17. Rafa wanted Simao and lets not forget he brought a certain Ryan Babel who falls into the Nani and Ronaldo category of being young and an exciting prospect.

  18. I've never rated Simao that highly (not even as good as Benayoun imho) and Babel was a good buy imo but completely wasted. He had more talent and potential than any of Nani, Kalou and Walcott when they arrived, but was given the least opportunity to prove his worth to the team and ended up as a flop unfortunateyl

  19. "Couple games back"? That was pretty much the beginning of the season!

  20. agreed MrBurt

    Quoting JPmuncey
    "I do like Downing as a footballer, but I always recall a comment made by David Pleat (or some such) during an England performance.

    Downing had come on and was putting in his all - as usual, for such a committed player - but he couldn't beat the full back and get a cross in.

    Pleat (or similar) said that Downing will never succeed at the top level without a)the pace to outrun the full-back or b)a trick to create some space for a cross.

    As far as I can see Downing has neither and perhaps it is too late for him. Maybe he can develop some tricks but it seems that you are either born with that deceptive instinct or you never get it. Maybe that is over-simplifying...

    The bottom line for me is that I don't think he can beat a really top fullback and get a good cross in. A pity though because he is also a fine shot with left and right foot.
    Read more: http://www.liverpool-kop.com/2008/08/case-for-stewart-downing.html#ixzz1dOioHccMIt's the same thing that I've seen of him - he gets his cross blocked waaay too easily for an elite level winger. And at his price, age and level of experience, we SHOULD be expecting/demanding elite calibre performances

  21. Remember Villa brought him for £12 million there was no way they were going to let him go for anything less then £20 million after flogging Milner for £24 million.
    pity Rafa did n't buy players like Downing,Lennon, Ashley Young,Adam Johnson and Milner when they were going for bargin prices brought Carson from Leeds when other clubs were buying Lennon and Milner.