Stewart Downing admits Liverpool exit threat sparked recent revival

Winger has impressed recently

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing admits a difference of opinion with manager Brendan Rodgers over where his future lay sparked his revival in fortunes.

The England international was told a couple of months ago he could leave in the January transfer window if the right offer came in as he was not a regular under the Northern Irishman.

Downing, however, saw it differently and, helped by injuries and unavailability of other players, got a chance to earn a run in the team and his performances in the last six weeks have shown a marked improvement.

"It was very open," the 28-year-old said of his discussion with Rodgers. "I wasn't in the team or playing and he said to me maybe I could look elsewhere because I need to play at my age.

"I didn't totally agree but I understood where he was coming from.

"Obviously he needs players who are going to play and not be sat about, but I thought in the back of my mind if I get a chance I can prove myself to him.

"Luckily enough I did in the next week or so after that.

"[Our conversations] have been very open. If I'm doing well he will say so and if not, I'll be pulled and told what I need to do.

"It's the same for all the players. It's good for me and that's how I like it, to be told if it's right or wrong.

"At the moment it's all going well and he's pleased with me, so I have to keep it going.

"I said to him I'd love to stay and if I keep playing well, then hopefully it can continue into the seasons after.

"I've still got a few more years on my contract so I'd like to see it out if that can happen, and the only thing I can do is play well and he'll keep me in the team."

Downing believes his recent performances have been the most consistent of his 18 months at Anfield.

He also feels it helps the team have put in some positive displays which have boosted confidence all round.

"The first season was patchy, I was in and out, but this year since I came back into the side it's been consistently quite good," he told liverpoolfc.com.

"It's probably because the team is playing quite well that it has all come together.

"A good run of games has been good for me. I think I've proven in my career that if I play regularly I tend to give good and consistent performances.

"It was disappointing because I was in and out, in and out and it was becoming a bit frustrating at times, but the best thing is playing in a winning team and playing with good players helps.

"There's consistency in the whole team, which is helping my game as well.

"My aim every game is to make the manager not leave me out. The only way to do that is to perform well.

"I've basically had nothing to lose in games and I think that's helped me over the last few weeks and long may it continue."

Liverpool's pursuit of Inter Milan's Philippe Coutinho rests on whether the Italian side are prepared to accept what amounts to a final offer for the midfielder.

The Reds have made a bid approaching £8million for the Brazil international, who is keen on a move to Anfield despite previous comments suggesting he was happy in Italy.

However, Rodgers has no inclination to pay above his valuation for the 20-year-old and will not be persuaded otherwise, despite reports Southampton are interested.

PA

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