Stewart Downing: Is He Really Worth Keeping at Liverpool FC?

Michael KohCorrespondent IIIApril 30, 2012

NORWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 28:  Stewart Downing of Liverpool  takes a shot on goal as Kyle Naughton of Norwich closes in during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on April 28, 2012 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Liverpool bought Stewart Downing from Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee, estimated at £18-20 million, on July 11, 2011.

He arrived with the sole notion that he is an "excellent crosser of the ball." In short, Downing was bought to feed Carroll crosses, something that Downing has not done for the 33 league games he has played.

He records, as a winger playing for the Reds, an incredible zero goals and one assist from 33 games. Okay, he scored two goals in the FA Cup tournament, but honestly, he should be hitting the back of the net in the league more than in cup tournaments. 

The 5'11" winger has been labeled as "a versatile player who is happy on either wing, [whose] crossing is excellent and he uses his pace and skill well down the flanks."

Thanks, ESPN; I guess you haven't been watching Downing play for Liverpool since his first appearance for the club against Sunderland on August 13th. 

Yes, the man is pacey. Yes, he can dribble (or try). But has he contributed enough in this frustrating season? I don't think he has.

I think Downing is a bit of a one-dimensional player. How often does he cut inside from out wide? Constantly. His crosses, while great sometimes, poor the other times, have not been cutthroat enough. 

I can understand that Downing was bought for his goal-creating crosses, but there is no end product to back his purchase up. The left-footer has not been consistent at all this season, perhaps having trouble with confidence, brought about by the disillusionment from the team underperforming this 2011-12 season. 

I still can't believe that out of the 2,287 minutes he has been on the pitch during league games, he has yet to score a goal for Liverpool.

Maxi Rodriguez, who has played just 16 matches for the Reds has been able to find the net four times. That's about a goal every 264 minutes, something which Downing hasn't been even able to record.

Then again, as Liverpool fans, we've been looking for a pure winger. Dalglish has tried to deliver but has failed with Downing.

Is it time to look for someone to replace Downing? Is his career just about to take off?

Or is he dead weight?