Brendan Rodgers wants Liverpool winger Stewart Downing to start afresh

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes winger Stewart Downing can put his disappointing maiden season at Anfield behind him and start afresh at West Brom tomorrow.

The England international, like a number of former boss Kenny Dalglish's signings, began the previous campaign promisingly but tailed off and he finished without a goal to his name.

Downing has already rectified that glaring statistic with the first goal of Rodgers' reign, hitting the winner in the Europa League qualifier against Gomel in Belarus just over a fortnight ago.

The Reds boss, who replaced Dalglish in June, has been impressed by the 28-year-old so far and hopes his make his early good form something more substantive.

"He has been excellent," said the 39-year-old ahead of his Barclays Premier League debut as Liverpool manager.

"I have seen him since he was a young player at Middlesbrough and he had periods at Villa where he was excellent.

"Obviously coming to a club like this the first season is always going to be difficult but he is a player who has a lot of talent and he wants to work hard.

"He is technically strong and physically quick and that aggressive part of his game is coming back, which is important.

"Players will be successful if they are confident and I have seen him play confidently in pre-season so long may that continue."

The return of midfielder Lucas Leiva is likely to be as, if not more, significant.

Having ruptured cruciate knee ligaments in November the Brazil international - who was enjoying his best form before injury struck - is back playing ahead of schedule and Rodgers is delighted.

"I've been very impressed. I like his mentality," he added.

"He is here to succeed, he is very much driven and he has an inherent belief in how we want to play.

"He has come back quicker than I thought he would. It is great testament to how hard he has worked."

Lucas could be lining up alongside new signing Joe Allen after the midfielder followed Rodgers to Anfield from Swansea.

The 22-year-old only completed his move last Friday but Rodgers rates the Wales international highly.

"I am sure he is very ready," said the Reds boss when asked whether Allen would feature at the Hawthorns.

"He had a good pre-season with Team GB at the Olympics and played 90 minutes for Wales so we'll see how he is.

"In all fairness he has only had a couple of days here. He was not able to play in the friendly (against Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday) and then he went away with the international team.

"But I know how Joe works and he knows how I work. He is a good guy, a very humble guy, and I am sure he will settle in fairly quickly."

Rodgers has now moved to strengthen his squad again, last night agreeing a deal with Heerenveen to sign winger Oussama Assaidi.

The 24-year-old, who must still pass a medical, scored 20 goals in 68 appearances for the Dutch club and has 22 caps for Morocco since making his international debut in February 2011.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
News
Missing: 'Mail' columnist Peter Hitchens
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power