A year on from being mocked for recording no goals or assists across an entire Premier League season after becoming Liverpool's fourth most expensive signing, Stewart Downing now finds himself close to undroppable. And along with the unexpected rise up the pecking order, he has slowly worked his way to once again being counted amongst those sought out by the press for their opinions on all things Liverpool.
"We can't keep relying on Luis [Suarez] for goals and you need someone else to chip in," said the winger as he and his teammates prepared for a match against Tottenham that will see the return of Daniel Sturridge, Suarez' recently acquired strike partner.
"I think Daniel has been a good signing for us and although we missed him against Wigan, in the games he has played he gives us something different. The way they play, [with Sturridge] on the [defender's] shoulder with Luis coming off, they are a nightmare. If we can get a good partnership with them going then we have a chance."
There may be reason to doubt whether Sturridge will start or if Rodgers might look to bring him off the bench late, but to hear Downing tell it there's little room for speculation. He's likely right, too, that if both start and can once again find the chemistry they've shown together so far it gives Liverpool their best chance. It would, however, mean a move to the bench for either Philippe Coutinho or Downing himself.
Whatever might happen come Sunday, for now all Downing is worried about is working to keep hold of his role on the right in Rodger's preferred starting eleven—and with seeing Liverpool rise up the table by continuing their recent strong run of form rather than falling prey to the inconsistency that has haunted them at times this season.
"If we can beat them we'll keep chopping away," he added, continuing a recent theme at the club that has seen the players and manager embrace a mentality of only worrying about one game at a time. "There's no point saying we want to finish fifth or sixth. We've just got to try and win our games and see what happens.
"It's going to be a great game. They've got good offensive players and the way we're playing at the minute, we can get goals. They will know they are in for a tough game. We played them off the park at White Hart Lane. I know we lost, but if you look at the game I don't know how we lost.
"The way we're playing and the way they're playing, it's set up for a good game. I'm confident we can get a win."