Rodgers warning for Liverpool stars
The 28-year-old left winger has failed to light up Anfield since his £20million move from Aston Villa last summer, and has seen teenager Raheem Sterling overtake him in the pecking order. And, while Rodgers, who replaced the man who signed Downing, Kenny Dalglish, has stopped short of calling time on his stay on Merseyside, he has told him to raise his game.
Speaking to a number of national newspapers, he said: "Stewart is a good guy and a good lad who came here for an awful lot of money. It hasn't quite worked out for him as he would want it. The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause to fight, because he has the qualities."
He added: "He has a wonderful left foot but what is important is that it is more than talent.
"Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard, you have to fight for the shirt.
"We have seen that in a number of the young players and if you don't do that then longer-term you won't be here. It is as simple as that really."
Another man to have found chances hard to come by under Rodgers is Jose Enrique, the Â£6million recruit from Newcastle.
"What is important is that you have good communication. I don't waste my time waiting until January to tell both players what I know now. So they know in relation to the demands of what we want and certainly what it is going to take for us to succeed and for them to fit into the dynamics of the group," Rodgers added.
"The communication I will keep private between Stewart and I, but he is under no illusions that he has to fight."
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