25 Nov 2011

STEWART DOWNING admits: "I'm not playing at my best..."

After 16 hours without a goal or assist, Liverpool winger Stewart Downing was dropped for the Chelsea game last Sunday, which was his first taste of bench duty this season. Liverpool went on to win at Stamford Bridge, with Craig Bellamy - ostensibly Downing's replacement - having a excellent game, which doesn't bode well for Downing's first team chances over the next few games.

Downing insists that Liverpool is 'a great club to be at' but he is the first to admit that it's not all been plain sailing since he arrived:

"It's been a little bit up and down, and I'm probably not playing at my best. I've probably been a little unlucky hitting the bar and the post, but you've just got to keep plugging away.

"It's go in sometime, so I've just got to carry on and keep trying to create, that's the main thing. If I can reproduce the form I did at aston Villa last year, I should be fine. Hopefully I can do that over the next couple of years at Liverpool".

From the interviews I've seen with him, Downing comes across as someone who lacks self-belief, especially now that he's around players with massive international reputations.

At Aston Villa, he was the proverbial big-fish in a small(er) pond; the perennial 'player with great potential', who never had to prove it on the biggest stage. Now that Downing has made the step-up, he's in the spotlight, and he has to prove that the potential everyone's been talking about for the last 7 or 8 years is real.

Living up to assumed potential has seemingly proved to be overwhelming for Downing, and his own views on what's expected at Anfield illustrate a possible mentality issue:

"Here, you're expected to win every game, but when I've been at lesser clubs, if you lose a couple then win a couple, it was okay".

I would argue that Downing hasn't quite made the mental transition yet from Villa to Liverpool. He's spent his whole pre-Anfield career thinking that it's 'okay' to fall short of the highest standards, and changing that ingrained way of thinking doesn't happen overnight.

Downing insists that he enjoys the heightened expectation level at Liverpool as it 'puts pressure on you to perform, which brings out the best in people', but listening to him say the words, it doesn't ring true; it sounds like he's saying what's expected of a Liverpool player, without really meaning it.

Irrespective of his end-product issue on the field, Downing is enjoying life at Anfield, and gets on great with his team-mates:

"I can't fault the lads, they've been absolutely spot on, and they're great to be around".

Kenny Dalglish should (IMO) keep an unchanged team for the visit of Man City on Sunday, but I have a sneaking feeling that Downing will return to the starting line-up, and there's no better confidence-booster than scoring or creating a goal against the best team in the league.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. I think that he should come back into the starting line up at the expense of Kuyt who, from the front 4 last week, was the one who stuck out as being the least effective.

    I would play Downing on the right and Bellamy on the left with Maxi behind Luis.

  2.                Reina
    Kelly   Agger   Skretel   Enrique

    Downing   Henderson   Adam   Maxi
              Suarez  Bellamy

    If I were Kenny Dalglish , I would make 3 changes to the side that played at chelsea:

    1. Henderson played well last time, he should be given a chance to prove himself by playing in his prefered position as a central midfielder.

    2. Downing is way better than kuyt. Even if he can`t score at least he is hitting the bar. Dalglish should play him where he played at his best and got player of the year at villa i.e at right wing. Dick Kuyt is just a liability in front. He will spoil our chances with his weak and inacurate shots. We may not get a lot of them at city.

    3. Kelly is the best right back we`ve got. Gland  johnson is a liability at the back. He was lucky at stamford bridge last week that his defensive frailities did not penalise us. He may not get that lucky this time.

    Downing, Henderson and Adam were among the top ten for most chances created last year. Maxi, Suarez and Bellamy together form an awesome attacking trio, all three of them capable of scoring as well as creating chances for others. These players together constitute our strongest attacking team selection IMO. No need for a negative defensive Benitez-like strategy with useless defensive midfielders like lickass and gay spearing. We have a very good defense with an excellent goalkeeper and a strong solid back four. No need for more defensive players. Lets play an attacking free fluiding pass and move football and beat city at their own game.



  3. Downing has done nothing for us and it seems unbelievable he plays for England - cannot score

  4. reina
    johnson, skrtel, agger, enrique
    kuyt/downing, lucas, adam, maxi
    bellermy/carroll, suarez

    lucas and adam played well last week, that allowed skrtel and agger an easier time, just remember what carroll did last time he played man city, maybe again he can come in fired up but bellermy did nothing wrong last week,  

  5. Does anyone want to take a bet that Downing will be in the starting 11 on Sunday?

    Wait till his team mates actually are ABLE to start putting his chances away (which there have been many of which have been wasted by his team mates) then all his haters will disappear. Can't wait :) 

    Go on Stewart shut them up.

  6. are u a mure fan????

  7. I would go with a 4-2-3-1 formation, looking like this;






    Bench// Doni/Carragher/Kelly/Henderson/Downing/Kuyt/Carroll

  8. -------------REINA-----------

  9. Word r u son???

  10. -------------------Reina-------------------

    2-1 for lfc

  11. Downing is feeling the pressure of playing for his first truly big club. He will come good.  Had an excellent game for England against Sweden, can score and play either wing. I am not worried.


    Think several here have the same idea. Need 5 in midfield, break-up their passing, track-back to cover Richards and Clichy's forward runs and total commitment. Would love to see Spearing being told to stick to Silva. Fulham gave City their toughest game all season by being very combative in midfield. We have to do the same.

    To me Mancini has made the EPL his priority. Didn't play his strongest starting 11 against Napoli. Think he truly wants to win at Anfield more.

    Need tactical flexbility to have a good chance. If we are lax or play 2 out-and-out strikers we could get a pasting.

    But if Kenny and Steve show the same smarts as last Sunday and last season and the team are up for it it should be a good same for us.

    But we cannot underestimate City the way we did Spurs at White Hart Lane or Ferguson did at Old Trafford.

  12. downing is a good sqaud player but his comment that he has been unlucky hitting the post twice in 6 months demonstates he does not have the right metality to be a great player, we should have got mata who is so much more technically accomplished. If the progress under kenny doesnt continue his decision to spend 20 million on downing will be put further under the microscope. That said downing is a liverpool player now and provided he works hard,deserves our backing.

  13. Until Stewart does what you hoped for, you - Red4Life - should perhaps be the first to shut the hell up.

  14. Downing? A great player? Get real! He is, at best, only a decent player.

  15. where did I say downing was a great player, read carefully next time.

  16. Henderson ahead of Kuyt and LUCAS?, no way, are you his dad?.

  17. try comparing downings first season at liverpool with his first at Villa,not much difference. he came good in the second. It took a season for him to fit, into his new team. 

  18. You definitley need a DM in a team, otherwise the back-four will be exposed big time.

  19. Me thinks this selection should come in the second half when Liverpool is under pressure, Jay S coming in to stabilise things. Had this been done at Chelski, I am sure they would not have had their equaliser. The team should start with Adam partnering Lucas and Henderson, Downing or Kuyt being plugged in the front-three place to play alongside Maxi and Bellamy.