Who should Liverpool sign: Downing or Mata?

Downing also displayed his versatility when playing on the right-wing last year, showing that he can cut inside and create havoc in such a role. Were Kenny to employ a 4-3-3 next season. Suarez would naturally play on the left, where he creates so much trouble for club and country. As such, were Mata to sign where would he fit exactly? He is untested on the right. Downing provides better options in this regard – added to this, Downing has also shown he can still provide crosses and width when playing on the right if the system is a 4-4-2. Something Mata cannot provide from either side.

Which brings me back to Andy Carroll.

I wish we weren’t building a side around Carroll but lets face it, we are. His price tag makes him almost undroppable. It is for this reason I feel that, barring injury to Carroll we will employ a 4-4-2 next year. In every game Carroll played last season, we utilised this formation. That Downing is a desired signing theoretically re-enforces this view.

Parallels with Dalglish’s signing of Alan Shearer can be drawn here. Dalglish recognised that Jason Wilcox and Stuart Ripley could provide ammo for Shearer in what turned out to be a masterstroke. Neither player was flash or full of tricks, but without these two it is hard to see how Shearer would have scored such an alarming amount of goals. Width was a crucial factor in getting the best out of Big Shearer – the same goes for Carroll.
What Blackburn under Dalglish did not have was creativity from the centre. Their title-winning side contained David Batty and Tim Sherwood in central midfield. Whilst both were good players, neither possessed great vision, or the ability to deliver a defence-splitting pass. This was not essential however, as neither Shearer or Sutton possessed great pace. Their title win was largely based on a strategy of bombarding the opposition with crosses, they played to their strengths.

But Blackburn did not have a Luis Suarez.

In Gerrard and Adam, Liverpool have players capable of releasing Suarez with quality through balls – both can pick a telling, defence-splitting pass. Liverpool have the quality to be creative in the central areas, many would argue that Aquilani or Meireles could also provide such options. I agree. We are not lacking in creativity in central areas, which is what Mata would provide us with more of.

Mata can pick a pass, but then so can Downing. Mata can score goals, but then again so can Downing. Mata can drift into central areas, but then isn’t this the type of narrow football we have been looking to get away from? Creativity in central areas is not what we are looking for – it is what we already have. It is the predictability of this style which has led to the clamour for width in the fist place.

Width is where we have been lacking. As such, Downing can give us the added option of natural width which we so desire. Mata cannot.

Downing would give us the ability to drag and pull defences apart, to keep them guessing where the next threat is coming from – making as dangerous from wide areas as we are from central midfield. As all Liverpool fans know, this is something we have lacked badly for years. Dalglish is looking for a player that provide such width, a player who can get the best from both Carroll and Suarez.

This is why Mata, however talented, is simply not what we are looking for..… Perhaps in some alternate reality where we have Suarez and Sergio Aguero up front it makes perfect sense. But not in this reality.
In this reality it’s £35m worth of 6ft 3” of Geordie bruiser we’ve got, and Dalglish isn‘t afraid to use what he has.

In addition to chasing Downing, the signing of Charlie Adam further demonstrates the importance that Dalglish has placed on getting good service to Carroll. In Adam’s case – particularly in regard to set-pieces. Carroll in particular is going to be salivating over those patented Charlie Adam ‘corners from hell’.

Even the greatest sceptic must admit that the thought of Downing providing the ammo for Carroll from the flanks next season, in addition to Adam’s delivery from set-pieces – is a very juicy thought indeed!

Any ideas, comments or suggestions can be sent to me at barryjourno@hotmail.com. As always, any feedback or suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

Article is courtesy of Barry Henderson at Live4Liverpool

Who would you rather Liverpool sign: Downing or Mata?

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19 responses to “Who should Liverpool sign: Downing or Mata?”

  1. Freddy says:

    MATA was a better Player then Silva(ManC)when he(Silva)was at valencia , i don´t think it would take long,for that VERY talented winger to adapt !
    But if Kenny only want Stuart(Little He He)Downing, my trust are with him, even though i Prefere MATA , More like John Barnes,and work Box to Box,he´s fast,scores a lot of goals to,and could be a backup striker when needed !
    Younger then Downing!

  2. tony says:

    We should sign johnson city aly cissokho lyon sergio aguero madrid athletico simple as that if we dont watch it suarez will do the same with us that torres did .
    lets get great player like this seriously we can get all three

  3. Alextalk says:

    Right on! The argument is not whether Downing or Mata is the better player but what LFC needs in terms of what KD and folks are trying to build. I distinctively remember what Rafa used to say a few years back…he was looking for a ‘leg’ for his table…a ‘leg’ that fits and not the most expansive or prettiest ‘leg’…makes sense! Its natural that some fans always look at all the ‘prettiest legs’ and scream that we should buy them..but then again even with all the ‘galacticos’ of the previous Real Madrid era..they really didn’t a whole hell of a lot..which on paper they should have…it is a TEAM sport with a TEAM of fitting players playing to a system designed for the members of the TEAM.

  4. ANDY says:

    Mata every day. It may be a bit of a gamble but he looks the part and to be honest, I just find Downing very dull. He’s never really set the premier league alight. Every premiership defender knows what downing is about. At least with Mata he has a bit of the unknown about him.

  5. ANDY says:

    I agree Aguero would be quite something!!!

  6. Riz says:

    I agree with Alextalk 100% and als with the writers blog content. Downing offers the width we badly missed last season. So he may not be doing step over after step over (after step over) like other foreign winging tend to add to tgeirm game giving them “flair” but he will be guaranteed to deliver quality balls onto the head of our big money man Carroll.

    On another note, It would have been nice to bring back old Riise to the squad and for only a few Mill he seems to be a snip. Whether he still has the paxce to bomb up and down the flanks remains to be seen but he still has a hell of a left foot.

  7. Marty says:

    all this talk about supplying balls for andy carroll etc, what about suiting the play of our other striker Luis Suarez?? :S would mata not suit the style of play of suarez??? :S yes i agree carroll needs good service in order to score goals, but should we not be looking after suarez aswell??? seems like dalglish and comolli are more concerned with our homegrown talent rather than our foreign talents…. if they keep this up they will lose players like suarez, reina etc.. sure theyre already trying to ship out an italian international and a portuguese international to make way for adam and henderson….. disgraceful!!!!!!

  8. Shola says:

    I choose mata than downing bcos we provide alternative way of score for liverpool and is very young player,the best is yet 2 come

  9. Jevon says:

    get both!! hehehe

  10. Riz says:

    Marty, we already have players whos play will suit Suarez, getting balls into the box and flicking balls on, holding up play which is what Carrol will provide can only aid Suarez also. Mereiles is staying put and Aqualani was not part of last years team so it would not be any loss to us if we shipped him out after all he will more than likely sit on the bench while collecting his huge weekly pay packet.

    On a positive note… I watched a bit of Liverpools game this afternoon and it was good to see Charlie Adam in a Liverpool shirt, he really looked the part. Also pleased to see young Coady get on the score sheet with a fine finish.

  11. dom says:

    Marty did you just say it is a disgrace to look for home-grown talent over foreign talent?

    KK is buying players that know the premier league and can do a good job, there is no point buying Mata if he takes a couple of seasons to adapt to premier league style, he is just another player that likes to cut inside we dont need that.

  12. njanja says:

    Mata is certainly 1m miles ahead of ur Downing in every aspect; age, skills, goal scoring, assists, and most importantly will be well suited for our traditional pass and move style. Instead of changing an entire long-standing tradition just because of one man(Carrol), that man should change for the team.

  13. akpunku says:

    With due respect to our great King Kenny; i will always chose Meireles and Aqua ahead of an Adam and Hendo

  14. pickson says:

    King K should buy mata. mata is just lik suarez even more than suarez. we don’t need to buy english players we hav enough of them. pls let get mata because we don’t need onLy crosses we need crater to create chances and not to cross ball up and down for our opponents.

  15. pickson says:

    pls king k we need MATA ,mata mata pls

  16. Gerrardious says:

    hw about non of the above? most seem to forget there are many more wingers out there who are beta(than Downing) and pose less risk(than ‘small-ish’ Mata), and considerably cheaper than both of em.

  17. shanks says:

    it dont matter what we say on message boards kk has made up his mind on transfers so we can kiss mata goodbye i think its a crying shame i much prefare him to downing but kk .knows best or does he i think he is getting carried away with all .this talk of buying english players

  18. Dave says:

    Listen people really need to get over this aguero thing cos he ain’t coming to Liverpool! Secondly mata is a great little footballer but I think that downing could do a decent job. I will be honest I would to see mata as well as downing but that maybe a little unrealistic, who knows?!

  19. Ian says:

    You are all missing the point, there is no way that Aguero or Mata for that sake would come to liverpool at this moment in time. mabe next season if we gat champions legue. dont underestimate Downings abilities, yes he is a bit dull, but he is extreamly effective, simple is what we need. also we need English as its only a matter of time before the FA impose some sort of home grown ruel.