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Liverpool's Stewart Downing Sees Good Times Ahead

Stewart Downing believes Liverpool can make the Champions League qualifying spots this season, after two years of not reaching the competition.

Stewart Downing sees good times ahead for Liverpool in Premier League Downing said: "There is a buzz back around the place, the owners have invested in the team and I just feel this club is going to go up another level again. I think I can make the step up, I am really pleased to be here and hopefully I can be part of a successful team."

The 27-year-old cost £20m from Aston Villa this summer yet, despite his price, the winger does not believe Kenny Dalglish will automatically select him. "I don't think the fact that Liverpool have paid the money for me will mean anything to Kenny," he said. "That won't influence his thinking. He sees a player he wants in a position and he isn't bothered about price tags. If you don't perform, you won't be in the team regardless of whether you cost £20m, £15m, or not. His job is to get the best out of his team and, if someone is not performing, he is going to bring in someone else to take their place.

"I'm not relying on my price tag and I'm not thinking: 'Well, he bought me, so I should get in the team.' If you go down that route, then you will soon be out the team. I know I have to work hard and signing for Liverpool is just the start for me. It's not the end. But I am ready to fight and work hard and repay people's faith. I want that challenge."

Downing is also clear that he will not alter his style. "The manager has seen something in my past performances that he liked and, if I can start on that standard again and push on, then that will hopefully be OK. I don't see why I should change my game at all because of how much I cost. I have not really spoken to Kenny about what position I am going to be playing in. I have played left and right since I arrived. With the amount of players we have here we can play with wide men or stick to a narrower system. I hope I can fit into either."

Downing is excited about playing with Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll and trying to supply them with crosses. "I have played a few games with him [Carroll] with England and in pre-season and I know his strengths. If you get the ball in the box, then nine times out of 10 he will get on the end of it. He is a big target. I have seen a bit of Suárez in the Copa América [for Uruguay] and he was brilliant. He and Carroll will suit each other and there is Dirk [Kuyt] as well who can play up top. If we work at it, then we can strike up a few good partnerships."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jamie Jackson, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 5th August 2011 22.30 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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