We need more options and he can be one of them. When he played for Villa, he played differently. He was not constantly hugging the touchline and I can't help but think a lot of our players underperformed last season so maybe it was the tactics (or lack of) to blame. Time to get off his back and support him. Everyone deserves a second chance and the circumstances for the latter half of the season were hardly optimum for him to stand up and have a real go.
Everyone doesn't deserve a second chance.
We didn't give Gonzalez a second chance or Nunez or Kromkamp or Keane or other players that left in a season (or less in Keane's case).
Yes we need options. But those options need to either get assists, get goals or offer some kind of threat. Downing didn't do any of those three consistently. So I see no point in keeping a player who won't be a match winner or won't be an impact player.
We could still get a decent fee for Downing, as he found his level at a club like Villa (or previously Boro) and he could contribute, therefore plenty of clubs will give us a fee betwee £8 -£12 million for him. But at LFC where you have to offer more, with more scrutiny and it is about character just as much as ability - Downing hasn't cut it. He is also not young enough to develop, this is a player who is 28 and should be totally used to the league, has fully developed as a player and should have hit the ground running.
I can understand people being patient with a player like Carroll, who along with Downing was disappointing last season. But at least you can see potential with Carroll (as we saw in the last few matches) and he is young enough to develop. Downing is different and he hasn't shown enough quality as a player or enough character as an individual to succeed here.
Get what we can and invest it into a player who could be a hit here. Our attack was blunt last season and Downing was a large reason for that.