Downing to move into defence

Liverpool look set to keep Stewart Downing, but with the intention to transform him into a left back.

Reported in the Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers has spoken of the adaptability of the left sided player and believes he could make the transition to a defensive player and take on a similar style to the modern day full back – citing Ashley Cole and Jordi Alba as examples. The Liverpool boss said:

“It is a big possibility that Stewart can play there. You look at the modern day full backs, like Barcelona’s Jordi Alba and Ashley Cole – Ashley Cole was a centre forward as a young player.”

He added that a change of position could release the pressure on the 27-year-old, he added: “When Middlesbrough reached the UEFA Cup final against Sevilla in 2006, Steward played left back during that run. His job at the top end of the pitch is to create and score goals. But sometimes switching positions can release the pressure on players.”

The England international has failed to replicate his form from previous clubs at Liverpool, managing just two goals last season – both in the FA Cup. This year he has scored in the Europa League but against West Brom he failed to get going again and found himself out of the side against Manchester City, Raheem Sterling favoured instead.

Whilst never being a prolific goal scorer, he was always able to create and grab a goal during his time at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough but those chances have dried up, meaning a switch to full back could help utilize his other talents instead.

Liverpool’s next game is against Arsenal at the weekend, both sides are expected to be busy in the next few days with regards to the closing transfer window.

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