Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has backed winger Stewart Downing to prove his critics wrong and become a key man in the team.
The Anfield boss also insisted the summer arrival from Aston Villa would be integral to any success the Reds may have.
Downing was regularly near the top of the assists chart when at Villa Park, but he has been unable to repeat that so far in his Liverpool career.
“Stewart is a fantastic footballer, an England international, who made a big move in the summer to come here,” Dalglish told reporters.
“This is a massive club, with all due respect to the others he's been at, it's going to take a little bit of time to get used to his surroundings, which is only natural, but we don't have any change of opinion on him as a player from what it was before.”
The England regular has yet to make a single assist or score a goal in the Barclays Premier League this season and many in the Kop have voiced dissatisfaction recently.
Dalglish has been impressed with what he has seen so far of Downing and even admitted the winger was better than he first thought.
The Scot defended the poor stats Downing has produced by saying that his team-mates need to be more clinical on the end of them.
A prime example of Liverpool forwards being wasteful with crosses was the missed header by Dirk Kuyt, just five yards out, which would have won the game in the poor scoreless draw with Stoke City at Anfield last weekend.
“For me, he's better than I thought he was going to be," added Dalglish.
“He's a better footballer, he's quicker than I thought - he's quicker than Carra thought he was as well!
“He's got more crosses in than anyone else, according to the stats. That's part of his job, and the other part is to put them in somewhere where we are going to score goals from them.
“Our job as a team is to get in there and put them in the back of the net. He can only do what he does, and that's put some decent crosses into the box, and then we have to get on the end of them.
“We've played him in three or four different positions. Maybe we have to look at ourselves and say we have to be fair to him as well.”
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