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Downing happy to silence Villa critics with win

Winger Stewart Downing believes Liverpool’s performance yesterday helped silence his Aston Villa critics and justify his decision to leave.

The England international moved to Merseyside for £20m in the summer, but it was the way he handed in a transfer request having swept the board at the club's player of the year awards which angered many fans.

He was booed for the majority of yesterday’s 2-0 win but expected as much and feels he answered his critics.

“I knew I would get booed and get some stick but that wasn't a problem for me,” he said.

“I was just focused on ensuring we got a result and I think they gave up after about 50 or 60

minutes and turned on their own team. We were by far the better team. I think it proved a point in terms of showing why I wanted to come to Liverpool. It wasn't to do with money, I've joined a top team.

“Just look at the players we've got on the bench who can't get a game, that shows how strong the squad is. This was the right move for me at the right time.

“I enjoyed my time at Villa, it’s a great club with great people, but you move on in football, that’s the way it is.

“It wasn’t about me coming back, it was about the team winning and this was one of the places we needed to come to get three points.”

Liverpool drew level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal and now face Wigan on Wednesday ahead of a busy fortnight.

Downing has found himself in and out of the side in recent weeks and admits no player can be certain of their place in the starting XI, although he appreciates having a strong squad is vital to Liverpool's season.

“We've got a good squad with a lot of people fighting for places,” he said. “It's a headache for the manager but that's what you want. Everyone is going to be needed, it's a big period in the season for us. We’ve got some tough games but they are winnable and hopefully we will pick up maximum points.”

Meanwhile, Villa have no issue with injured striker Darren Bent undertaking some Christmas shopping during the latter stages of yesterday’s defeat to Liverpool.

Some Villa fans voiced their displeasure at a picture posted online of record signing Bent buying some Christmas presents.

But Villa are completely relaxed about the situation.

Bent was ruled out of the game at Villa Park with a thigh injury. The England international reported to the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground yesterday

morning and underwent two hours of treatment. He was then told by the club’s doctors to go home, where he watched the majority of the Premier League clash on television.

It was then that Bent decided to go shopping, which led to consternation from some supporters.

Jonathan Fear, editor of fans' website, Vital Villa, said: “Even if he does care for Villa, symbolically going out shopping during the latter part of the game makes it look to the fans that he doesn't give a stuff for Villa.”

Bent has already issued an apology on Twitter which read: “I hope to be back very soon. Watched the majority of he game on tv. Never knew popping out would cause an issue and for that I apologise.”