- Premier League
Downing linked with Middlesbrough return
Liverpool winger Stewart Downing could be set to go back to his former club Middlesbrough on loan, reports say.
Downing, 28, joined the Merseysiders from Aston Villa in 2011 in a deal estimated to be worth £20 million, signing a long-term contract.
Despite earning praise from manager Brendan Rodgers, who last month described him as "an important member of our team", it is believed Downing has been told he is free to leave Anfield.
According to the Northern Echo, although there is reported Premier League interest from Everton and Sunderland - with whom he has previously spent a loan spell - Downing is keen to return to Boro in a bid to revive his career.
He spent eight years at the Riverside after graduating through the club's academy, with his time there including a UEFA Cup final appearance under the management of Steve McClaren.
Any deal for Downing must be concluded by Thursday in order to beat the football league's loan window deadline.
Middlesbrough, under the guidance of their former captain Tony Mowbray, have started the season well and are third in the Championship, four points behind leaders Crystal Palace.