The former Aston Villa man has slipped down the pecking order at Anfield following the summer arrivals of Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas, with 18-year-old Raheem Sterling also expected to get plenty of game time on the wing this season.
The 29-year-old became a target for West Ham earlier in the transfer window, but now Newcastle United director of football Joe Kinnear is ready to open talks over a possible £5million switch to St James’ Park.
Downing had previously stated he wanted to stay and fight for his place at Anfield, but after becoming an unused substitute during Steven Gerrard’s testimonial on Sunday, the England man is aware first team opportunities will be more limited at Anfield this season.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers told Downing he could leave the club just before Christmas last season. A loan move back to former club Middlesbrough was thought to be in the pipeline, before Downing rediscovered some of his old form and remained in the first team fold until the end of the season.
But with Rodgers looking to add further additions to his squad ahead of the new season, Liverpool know they will have to trim their wage bill, and could do with getting the man who cost them £20million in the summer of 2011 off their books.
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