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Diego Costa bid welcomed by Stewart Downing

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Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has welcomed the club’s pursuit of Atletico Madrid attacker Diego Costa, even though it will inevitably give him even more competition for a first team place.

30.09.2010, Vicente Calderon Stadion, Madrid, UEFA EL, Atletico de Madrid vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen, im Bild Atletico de Madrid's Diego Costa dejected during Europa League match. EXPA Pictures © 2010, PhotoCredit: EXPA/ Alterphotos/ Alvaro Hernandez +++++ ATTENTION - OUT OF SPAIN / ESP +++++

Downing broke back into the Reds first team last season, holding down a place with his strong and motivated performances.

However, the arrivals on Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge in January, and Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto this summer have strengthened Liverpool’s attacking options.

Last week the club put in a £22million bid for Brazilian Costa, and are hoping his ferocious style of play will bolster the attack even further.

“At a club like Liverpool you need players competing for a shirt,” Downing told the Liverpool Echo.

“I didn’t think we really had that last season as we were a bit short on numbers.

“But this season there is real competition, especially going forward, and hopefully that can help push us on a bit.

“The manager said he wanted to sign players who would bring more goals to the group and both Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto have done well so far.

“Then there’s Sturridge, Fabio Borini, Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe and myself. There’s also Luis and obviously the club have put a bid in for Diego Costa as well.

“Of course people aren’t happy if they aren’t playing but having competition keeps everyone on their toes.”

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Saturday, July 20, 2013: Liverpool's Stewart Downing in action against an Indonesia XI during a preseason friendly at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Downing has been the subject of speculation linking him with a move away from Anfield this summer, however, with just a week to go until the start of the new Premier League season, Downing remains at the club and started Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over Valerenga in Norway.

In our recent blog post for Metro, we wrote about how selling Downing, even at a knock-down price than the £19million outlaid for him two years ago, makes sense.

Liverpool’s league campaign gets underway at home to Stoke City on Saturday, 17th August 2013 with a 12.45pm kick-off.

First, they travel to Ireland this weekend for their final pre-season friendly against Celtic in Dublin. Kick-off is 5pm.

Both games are live on BT Sport in the UK.

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