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 By Mike Whalley

Downing hoping for Liverpool stay

Stewart Downing has vowed to fight for his Liverpool future after breaking his Premier League goal duck for the club at the 45th attempt.

Stewart Downing celebrates after netting his first Premier League goal for Liverpool
Stewart Downing finally scored for Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday

Downing had not managed a goal or an assist in 44 league games since arriving from Aston Villa for £20 million in July 2011 but he was on target as Fulham were beaten 4-0 at Anfield on Saturday.

The 28-year-old struck early in the second half, having set up a goal for Steven Gerrard in the 36th minute. It marked a significant breakthrough for the winger, whose attitude was questioned publicly by manager Brendan Rodgers earlier in the season.

Downing, who was linked with a loan move to Championship side Middlesbrough just over a month ago, admitted only last week that Rodgers had told him he could leave in January.

However, the Liverpool manager has since indicated that the England international could stay if he keeps performing well, and Downing, who has started seven of Liverpool’s last eight games, is determined to make the most of that chance.

He told Liverpool’s website: “I’m in the team and trying to do my best. I'd like to stay and contribute to the team. It’s a great club. That’s why I came in the first place - to play with great players here. The only thing I can do is keep playing well and pose a problem.

“The squad is getting stronger and we’ll probably reinforce in January. There are places up for grabs, so if you’re not performing and not being ruthless in front of goal, you’ll be replaced.

“I think that’s good for the team because it keeps players on their toes.”

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