Downing not daunted by fee

The Reds splashed out a figure believed to be around

£20million to bring the winger to Anfield this summer from

Aston Villa, where he had been voted player of the season. Downing

said: “It’s about picking up where I finished off last season with

Aston Villa, carrying on my form and not doing anything

differently. Just because of the fee, it doesn’t mean I have to

change. “I’m being brought in to do what I did at Aston Villa,

whether that’s on the left or right. I’m not sure where the manager

sees me playing but I just want to do well for Liverpool. “Last

season was probably my most consistent season and I just want that

to continue. It’s a big season for me personally and the club, and

I want to get in the England team as well. Hopefully Liverpool will

see the best of me.” Downing is one of four new signings made by

manager Kenny Dalglish during the close season, and he was

introduced to the media at a press conference yesterday alongside

Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and goalkeeper Alexander Doni.

Dalglish is famously reluctant to reveal targets for the Reds but,

after the way they finished last season and their summer

recruitment, Downing is in no doubt a return to the Champions

League should be a target. The 27-year-old said: “This club has

high expectations and it’s a club that deserves to be in Europe. In

the past they’ve have done very well and I’m sure the players and

the manager will want to do well for the owners and get into that

top bracket. “I think we’ve certainly got the squad now, there’s a

lot competition for places in a way there maybe hasn’t been in the

past, so I think it’s got to be an aim.” Downing has even loftier

ambitions for the future and already has his sights set on the

Premier League title – which would be Liverpool’s first in the top

flight since Dalglish’s last full season in charge in 1989-90. “In

the long term the ambition would be to win the league,” he said.

“It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a building process and hopefully

we’ve started it with the players Kenny’s brought in this summer,

along with the top players he already had. “Speaking to the lads

who’ve been here for a while, they said you can sense the

atmosphere around the players and the fans. I think we just need to

start well and get the fans on side, and let’s have a right good

go.”