The 2011 saw Liverpool do an incredible amount of business in the transfer market--Fernando Torres left in January, with Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll coming in, and over the summer the club spent further on Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Jose Enrique, and Sebastian Coates, with Alexander Doni and Craig Bellamy joining on free moves before the summer was out and Jordon Ibe coming to the club before the turn of the year. Cut to today, and there's a very real possibility that fewer than half will be at the club by summer's end, with a few already departed and a couple more linked concretely with moves elsewhere.
For his part Stewart Downing doesn't see himself going anywhere, today opening up about his hopes of staying at Liverpool despite rumors linking him elsewhere:
"I'm here to stay. I'm enjoying it - especially last season. I got a good run in the team. Hopefully that will continue, and I need to work hard. I want it to continue. It's why I came here - to play in a successful team. I want that to continue as long as possible. It's brilliant to have people behind you, the fans. When they're behind you, you want to do well for them and play well."
Depending on how much his words influence the club's interest in selling, his statement will prove to either mean quite a bit or not very much at all. West Ham were reportedly the club most interested in his services, though having already spent a significant amount on Andy Carroll and his wages, it might prove difficult to accommodate another player who's been dramatically overcompensated for underwhelming services since making the move to Liverpool.
He could yet be sold, or he could prove to be a useful squad player despite being one of the higher earners in the squad. But there's no question that Liverpool need an upgrade (and might have one in Iago Aspas) no matter what Stewart Downing wants or doesn't want--for all the talk of chances created and how he's statistically effective, etc. etc., it's hard to shake the notion that Liverpool can and should do much better if they're hoping to achieve more in the next few seasons.