As Stewart Downing put pen to paper over the summer, there wasn’t a great deal of fanfare made about his signing, nor was there any real fuss in the media. It was an widely-known secret and probably the only signing of the summer that pretty much everybody inside and out of Anfield knew was going to happen.
Personally, I found the signing of Downing rather interesting and felt that he could bring a lot to the side; he could provide the genuine width that we haven’t had for many years (only some good performances from Riera breaking the left-sided curse short-term) and would undoubtedly offer us extra options and a different type of attacking style.
In the main, his performances have been very impressive – for the most part – he’s tricky, quick, with a relatively decent turn of pace and his crosses left-footed usually hit the spot every time, which make the following stats in all competitions all the more strange. Downing has had 23 shots, with 7 on target and has not scored a single goal. He has had second most shots only to Suarez and has not scored in 23 attempts. For a winger, you could normally forgive them not having a hugely prolific goal-scoring record but when a wide-player has managed not one assist from 9 starts and 1 substitute appearance it is worrying.
A quick glance across the whole squad shows that our top-scorer, Luis Suarez , also tops our assists tables with 3, whilst both Charlie Adam and Jose Enrique have both set-up 2 apiece. Perhaps of greater contrast to Downing though is that both Maxi and Raul Meireles have managed 1 assist each this season. In fact, Maxi has managed 1 goal and 1 assist and has only played in 2 games all season which raises the question of why in-form players aren’t being selected (but I’ll have more to say on that in future). As for Meireles, he only had 2 substitute appearances for the Reds before leaving for Chelsea but still managed to set-up Luis Suarez against Arsenal before departing.