Stewart Downing will prove the £20million Liverpool paid Aston Villa to bring him to Anfield was money well spent, according to his former manager and ex-Reds boss Gerard Houllier.

The 63-year-old Frenchman was a huge admirer of Downing's ability during his Villa Park tenure, before he was forced to leave the club on the grounds of health reasons, and fully expects him to be a success on Merseyside.

"Stewart will fit in very well at Liverpool," Houllier told BBC Sport. "I like him very much as a player and I am certain he will be a very big asset to them.

"Stewart is a very modern player. He can attack and defend and was involved in so many goals for Villa last season.

"He is one of the best crossers of a ball in the Premier League with [either his] right or left foot and is very skilful. He operates well on either side, is adaptable and versatile and of course all managers appreciate that."


Having spent six years as manager of Liverpool himself, Houllier is well aware of the type of player that has what it takes to become a fans' favourite at Anfield, and is confident that Downing holds that potential.

And despite the over-inflated figures being bandied about by the Reds this summer, Houllier feels that even at £20million, the 26-year-old winger will prove to be a very astute signing for current boss Kenny Dalglish.

"Stewart is very, very professional. He takes on board everything you tell him and is very intelligent about the game," he continued. "He picks up the details that can be so important.

"He's also a team-player and if you are under the cosh he is willing to do more than his normal job, which is a very important quality.

"Over ten games he will give you nine very good performances and this is why I think he will be a good signing for Liverpool."

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