Aston Villa midfielder Stewart Downing has revealed he will not be signing a new deal with the club.
The announcement comes amidst increased media speculation linking him with a summer move to Liverpool according to skysports.com.
The 26-year-old winger has been in fine form for Villa this season, winning the annual player of the year award with recent performances seeing him recalled to the national set-up.
Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is known to be in the market for two wide midfield additions, and as well as being linked with Villa Park teammate Ashley Young, the Scot is thought to be interested in Downing himself.
Having confirmed that talks have taken place over a new deal, but later admitting his reluctance to sign an extension - Liverpool fans will be encouraged by early signs that Downing may be looking to engineer a summer switch to Anfield.
"I know the club are keen for me to extend my contract as I only have two years left on my deal," he said.
"However, I am 26 and at a major crossroads in my career so I won't be committing to a new deal at the moment."
Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli is a known admirer of Downing's talent, and is exactly the sort of player the Reds could do with to provide additional service and firepower to the Anfield strikeforce.
"I want to keep playing and enjoying my football," Downing continued in an interview with the Northern Echo.
"The most important thing is to play football, but I do want to play in the Champions League at some point."
Although Liverpool will not be able to fulfill Downing's ambition next season, Dalglish will be targeting a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League, and therefore it will surely be only a matter of time before Anfield is once again hosting football from Europe's elite competition.
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