Brendan Rodgers to Stewart Downing: Shape up or get out

Clive Brunskill - Getty Images

Liverpool's patience with Stewart Downing appears to be coming close to its end, and Brendan Rodgers' latest set of quotes seems to be intended to send the winger, who arrived from Aston Villa two summers ago and has done approximately nothing since, one simple message: Try harder or get out.

[I]f you are not quite right in your preparation and you come in looking in for an easy life, pick up your money, it won't be here. We are a club that has to be fighting going forward.

Stewart is a good guy who came here for an awful lot of money. It hasn't quite worked out for him as he would want it. The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause to fight because he has the qualities.

He has a wonderful left foot, but talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard, you have to fight for the shirt. We have seen that with a number of the young players and if you don't do that then longer-term you won't be here.

...

The ones that don't put their bodies on the line stand out like a sore thumb. For me status does not matter. It doesn't matter how much money you have come for.

It's perhaps harsh on Downing, who cannot be in a good place mentally after becoming Liverpool's fourth-most expensive buy barely a year ago and flopping badly at Anfield. But with £20 million invested in the winger -- plus not-exactly-cheap wages -- it'll be particularly galling for Rodgers to see Downing looking for 'an easy life'. Rodgers made it clear that the 28-year-old, as well as left back Jose Enrique, will be out of Liverpool as soon as possible unless they step up their performances and improve their attitude.

Whether or not the duo are capable of such a feat is yet to be seen.

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