Downing spent a long time in the North East with former club Middlesbrough, and has also been linked with a move back to his old club, but Sunderland look favourites to sign the winger who has failed to produce his best form at Anfield.
Downing has been one of Liverpool’s better performers over the last four games, but it might turn out to be too little too late, following the signing of Daniel Sturridge and the return from injury of summer signing Fabio Borini.
However, Rodgers has expressed his desire for Downing to stay, should he continue to display his current form, and having featured at left-back on a number of occasions this season, Downing might be used as back-up whilst Jose Enrique is out with injury.
It’s no secret that Downing made a slow start to his Liverpool career, and the former-Villa man failed to score in his first eight games, and created just one chance a game. Although his performances weren’t terrible, a cumulative performance score of 127 is nothing more than ordinary.
However, in his last four games, Downing has received a performance score of 334, more than double his performance score for his first eight games and it appears his first goal for Liverpool, scored against Fulham just before Christmas, has given the 28-year-old the confidence he needs. Downing has created 17 chances for his teammates too, including 1 assist.
Downing’s all-round game has improved significantly too, with the player seemingly benefitting from Rodgers’ decision to play him at left-back in place of Jose Enrique on a number of occasions during the first half of the season. Downing has come out on top in 86% of his tackles this season and has won his aerials battles more often than not.