27 Dec 2011

MACCA: The criticism he's getting at the moment is UNFAIR...

Former Liverpool defender Jason McAteer has jumped to the defence of Stewart Downing after the winger failed to score or create a goal in yet another game.

Downing has not gone 19 games without hitting the back of the net or assisting; That's an incredible 28 hours of football without a specific creative contribution to the team..

McAteer had some sympathy for the former Villa man though, and blamed Liverpool's strikers for failing to get on the end of his many crosses:

"Stewart Downing's getting criticism at the moment, and it's unjust.

"He's put balls in the box today endlessly; I forget how many balls he's put into the box, and there's only so much you can do.

"It's down to the centre forwards to get on the end of them, or the midfielders.

"I don't think I saw Jordan Henderson breaking into the box with any determination, and Andy Carroll spent more time outside the box when balls were going in".

I agree that Downing put quite a few cross into the box, but how many were accurate? How many found a man? How many were just hoofed into the box without much thought?

For me, this is the problem with Liverpool's crossing - too many players seem to think that making the space is most important thing; it's like they think that all the work is done, and all that remains is hoofing the cross into the middle. Getting the cross in accurately and actually picking someone out seems to be an afterthought.

I don't think getting in lots of crosses is necessarily a sign of quality; consistently picking someone out with a cross is what matters, and Liverpool players - including Downing - don't do that enough (IMO).

Ultimately, the uncomfortable truth is that Martin Skrtel - a DEFENDER - has more goals and assists than Downing this season.

Whatever the reason, that's just not good enough.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Nonsense Jamie. He makes things happen. I'm not keen on crosses - I much prefer the Arsenal way. But the odd cross does no harm, and it is not just down to the crosser. A lot of Beckham's excellent crosses were excellent because of the movement of Andrew Cole and Dwight Yorke.

  2. What is Jason trying to say, that Liverpool fans don’t know what they’re talking about.  Bless u Jas, but ur out of ur depth.  Fans thrive for players with talent and passion, fair enough if the skill is not there at times you can forgive one if you see the passion and potential in some shape or form. 
    Kuyt is not the most skilled pro, but his hardwork, drive, determination and self belief gets him noticed.
    I think genuinely the most frustrating thing above Downing is with his vast premiership experience compared to our other new signings and at his peak age, looks out of his depth.  Suarez, adam, enrique,  henderson and carroll, have limited premiership experience and are young, so they have time to develop. Yes I know some of theses have been frustrating but quite a few have years ahead to develop. 
    Example when Gerrard first came onto the scene, believe me you can see the resemblance with Henderson.  Gerrard has been a legend for us, but people are forgetting he also was once very raw.  Unfortunately, i cannot say the same about Downing.  He is not a winger, meant to be in his prime at his age and not sure why we bought him, especially for 20m.  What else is exposing Downing is the fact the way Enrique is not only doing his defensive duties but is also carried downing by showing more determination and drive to take people on and get into attacking positions.  Maybe he can get some advice from Enrique and johnson on how to do it on the wing!! What a joke!! 
    Liverpool have improved and its a case of work in progress, so people asking for Kenny to be sacked are not even worth talking about.  Just hope we learn moving forward and make clever and shrewed signings!
    Love to see Tevez at Anfield, but cannot see it happening!!

  3. I think McAteer see's a lot of himself in downing. Ultimately just not
    good enough. One paced, rarely takes the initiative with zero goals and
    assists. Skrtel has more goals and assists than the Boro man.   The
    transfer policy in 2011 which could and should have put us in
    contention  has failed. Dalglish has bought badly. It's all about
    results. Hitting the woodwork, the opposition keeper making saves ,
    over a season that's just an excuse.  Carroll, downing and adam to a
    lesser extent, Henderson is a young lad who may be a player but
    primarily most of his buys have been mediocre. 

  4. I agree with you Jamie, Liverpool are putting lot of crosses in the box but the quality of those crosses has been really poor, Andy Carroll is getting lot of stick for not scoring goals but how is he supposed to score when he can't get proper service. IMO if Carroll hasn't justified his price tag then Downing also hasn't justified his price tag. Currently the team is too dependent on Suarez and when he doesn't make anything happen then nothing happens for Liverpool. Adam has been another poor signing, he is making contributions but still not good enough.
    My January wishlist would be Podolski, Shaqiri, Banega, Marin and if any players are to be offloaded it should be Kuyt, Adam, Downing.

  5. We lack attacking intent .... we have only 2 players in and around the box most of the time .... with such a tactic it's clear that scoring will be a lot harder than it actually should be.

    We need to be more adventurous in our playing style ....

  6. Spot on Jaimie, and this is the whole issue with the overall Andy Carroll plan - crossing into the box for him to get goals - it will never CONSISTENTLY work.  

    Goals from crossing is based on the the law of averages, no one in world football no matter how good they are in the air is going to get 20 a season from headers simply because it is a less certain route to a goal. Take Barcelona for example, a team that has perfected a brand of football that on almost every oppurtunity to take a corner or put a ball in they take it short as passing into the box is much more assured than hoofing into the air.
    Andy Carroll would need to rely firstly on the quality of the cross, then the inability of the defender to clear, and then his own ability in the air, and as we have seen if this is your overall game then you are not going to score a lot of goals. The keeper saves some, some go wide, sometimes the ball doesnt come in where you stand - this is the Andy Carroll story and also where Stuart Downing comes in. Its as Stuart Downings  sole purpose is just to provide that service and nothing else, and that is what Mcateer is arguing.  

    Countless times yesterday Downing was in a position to make an angle and shoot, but layed it off to someone else. There is no hunger for goal, no desire to go alone, to force errors or surprise defenders. When someone like Nani has sight of goal he doesnt care if someone else wants the ball or is in a better position, he makes an angle and shoots as he wants to score and ends up with about 10 or so goals a season.

    The other issue with Downing and his lack of goals is movement. He cannot read the play to position himself in the right places and always seems to occupy "safe" areas of the pitch. For a lesson on movement he should talk to Maxi Rodriguez who is the only midfielder we have that offers threat 

    I dont agree with Mcateer, but an issue that is being overlooked in criticism of the players is this gameplan that we are adopting and therefore the blame has to sit with the management. We are so rigid this season , and it is baffling as KD proved between January and May last year he could get the team to play in a fluid attacking style, so what happend? IMO he made a load of signings to compliment Andy Carroll and that plan is failing before us more and more with every game.  

  7. @5f8d316ea88163c8fc7960abbd7a8a9c 
    Yo dude you forgot about carroll,a $$$millions and what kind of services you reckon is good for him??? does suarez need any service? with that kinda $$ tag he should have create for himself even when he's not getting any,he's not a baby that need to be feed to his mouth,He's way...too lazy even when he's playing for newcastle. 

  8. Agree with everything apart from the first two sentences. It's not nonsense, it's fair criticism. Secondly he makes nothing happen, hence why he hasn't got a goal or an assist this season. He's a good player, but he's being incredibly ineffective and at £20m when we could have got Navas, Cazorla, Arda or someone with that quality, Downing has to be branded a flop. Let's hope he can do better though...

  9. Can anyone tell me what is Henderson's tactical role for the team,not attacking,can't breakup play,passes to the left,right,backward and do a little alice's jog and all of that cost $$$ millions?? Big shame on ENGLISH playerssss.

  10. Come on be serious, how can you blame one or two, the facts are that all of the attacking players are not doing enough.
    Defensively top notch but I will brake it down for ya:
    Downing= Average all his career, never wanted in the England team by neutrals, no turn of pace, no shooting ability, crossing has been poorer that his average best.
    Adam= One good season with Blackpool (a team relegated) very slow, can't dictate play, too selfish when close to goal, defensively terrible.
    Maxi= Annonymous all game, the odd tap ins save him.
    Kuyt= Only in the team for his work rate, not good enough to go up front, not good enough to play right mid, simples!
    Carroll= Over priced, 1 trick pony but at the wrong club to utilize his strengths
    Suarez= Poor goalscorer, great approach play but its worth nothing if it doesnt create goals, cutting back on yourself to confuse the defender is great but if it complicates your finish which results in a balooned shot over the bar then its a waste of time......my advice shoot more moan less

    The players im leaving out are Lucas, Bellamy and Henderson all 3 regualrly impress...

    The managers job is to pick the right players

    Dalglish is simply trying to justify his signings by including them in the side whenever he can.

    We wont win games with this team as we dont score goals.

    Drop Carroll, sign a Striker and play Gerrard when ever possible

  11. I think Downing is a failure or faled to live to our expectatons.

  12. Downing is a confidence player and right now he doesn't have any. I think the problem stems form the level of expectation, driven by the £20m price tag. The £20m was around £10m too high and Downing must have known this and knows he can't live up to it...he just isn't THAT good a player!

  13. Yes, Suarez does need service or at least other players attempting to score if he is to play at his best. In creating opportunities, it has affected his shooting accuracy.

    Carroll can be deadly with the right service, but the right service he hasn't been getting. Likewise, Downing needs the same type of service. Downing's strength is his pace, where Carroll's are his size and accuracy. Both these players must be played in well before the 18 yard box where they can charge straight ahead. With Suarez on the pitch, both Downing and Carroll have to play further up which diminishes their effectiveness. Suarez may be the perfect playmaker for experienced or intelligent fellow forwards like Maxi and Kuyt, but that style makes Henderson, Carroll and Downing redundant. 

    May be no coincidence that our English players are underperforming due to the lack of Englishness in our attacks - something Gerrard and Shelvey have the understanding to create. Modric may be no Englishman, but his distribution facilitates the classic English attack that wins you games in the premier league. While City easily possess the best squad in the premiership, Spurs and Man U have proven to be the masters of winning games, despite not possessing the creativity and beautiful passing of Chelsea, Arsenal and ourselves.

  14. That's because we send the ball up too quickly and our players aren't very well synchronised! Chelsea and Arsenal suffer from the same problem. By the time we have a sensible number of players up front, our opponents already have 10 men behind the ball. The last time I'd seen our players fly up the pitch 3 at a time was when Torres had Babel and Crouch flanking him on a counter. In Henderson, Downing, Johnson and Bellamy, we have the speedy players who can bomb forward together, and while Carroll doesn't accelerate very well, his strides mean he can still cover alot of ground pretty fast too.

  15. Downing--Statistically the best winger in the country for 3 years in a row, This season has hit the woodwork 4 times, and if the strikers were clinical would already have 10 assists.
    Adam--Has had a hand in more than 60% of our goals this season, and contrary to popular belief often covers more ground than anyone else.
    Maxi--Much improved player, on current form is worthy of a place.
    Kuyt--The most underated player in LFC history, provides much more than just hard graft, His liverpool total of around 120 goals/assists prove this.
    Carroll--Big potential, overpriced..YES, but so was torres.
    Suarez--Truly great footballer, In his liverpool carreer so far has a total of 27 goals/assists in 33 games, none too shabby, With a bit of luck he could have had at least 10 more.

    The managers job is to pick the right TEAM, if that includes players that are not individually brilliant so be it, the team is what matters, and so far in Kenny's first year in charge hes done a brilliant job.

  16. Seriously??? Only city have had more attempts on target than liverpool.

  17. How many goals and assists does Downing have for Liverpool? Those are the most important stats; nothing else matters.

  18. Sorry man but you dont have a clue what you are talking about, We are 11 points behind the league leaders, WE ARE in contention,  and its no coincidence that Dalglish bought 3 of last seasons highest assist makers, and this season we have the second highest chances created, Dalglish has bought very well, And i know most people bring up "Overpriced" Carroll (which is true) BUT when you look at the facts behind the purchase it makes perfect sense, if we hadnt spent the £35m on Carroll in January 2010, by Aprill 2011 £26.3m of that money would have become "Dead money" due to taxes, and Comoli and Kenny they were already interested in Carroll.

  19. Its not his fault that when a cross comes in theres no movement from Carroll, etc, Its no coincidence that in his last 2 games for england he has 3 assists. He will come good.