During Stewart Downing's time at Anfield, he did very little to endear himself to the fans. He wasn't necessarily a bad person, and the £20M price tag wasn't exactly his fault. However his 3 goals and 5 assists in 65 league appearances (including a goose egg in each category during his first season) speaks volumes about his place in a club that expects much more from their attacking players.
After two seasons at West Ham, Downing is back at his first club Middlesbrough, and decided it would be a good time to reflect on his time in front of the Kop and the differences between playing for King Kenny and Brendan Rodgers:
"I played for a very good manager in Kenny Dalglish, he was very good to me. I'll never forget what he did to get me to that club.
"It was strange to see him sacked, they spent a lot of money on players. It's not going to happen overnight but they sacked him after one year.
"He's like God at Liverpool, we could be losing but they would be singing his name. That's how it was at Liverpool, normally the manager would get the flack but he would get his name sang and the players would get the flack!
"He was very good to play for, you could always speak to him and his door was always open. He was just a nice man in general. I was very proud that he signed me to play for Liverpool."
Yeah, even if his second managerial stint didn't come off like we hoped, we still love Kenny Daglish and always will.
As for playing under Rodgers? Downing was not nearly as impressed:
"I had a fall out with the manager in the second year when I didn't play.
"When Brendan came in, for me he wanted his own players from day one I could sense that.
"I was out of the team and it was October, I was going to leave but Brendan was never going to allow that. I think he'd rather me sat there doing nothing which is a bit strange.
"The team wasn't doing well so I kept my head down and when we had a few injuries he put me in at left-back. It was strange for me but I enjoyed it. I had a lot of the ball, you don't have to defend as much playing for Liverpool because they have a lot of the ball.
"Come the end of the season I was a regular playing as a right winger, I really enjoyed playing with Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho. What's not to enjoy? I finished the season quite well so it was strange to leave in the summer."
For those playing Brendan Rodgers Narrative Bingo at home, you can now cross out the "Wants Own Players" and "Player Alienation" boxes.
Like any statements from former players, especially players like Downing who very obviously failed to live up to their sizable price tags, it's difficult not to take these without a grain of salt. Regardless, these statements cannot be ignored completely as sour grapes, even if many fans were pleased when Downing moved on. Rodgers--rightly or wrongly--did not rate Downing, and the player could sense as much from the very beginning of his reign.
Despite his struggles, Downing still says he has fond memories of playing at Anfield:
"I enjoyed playing for Liverpool, it was a great club and I played with some fantastic players. I look back with good memories, and not that I went there and we struggled.
"It was a great atmosphere in some games and I'll never forget the cup final. It was a fantastic celebration.