The winger endured a difficult two years on Merseyside after making a £20 million move from Aston Villa in 2011 and was never able to recapture the form that prompted the Reds to pay such a hefty price tag.
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“I spoke to the manager and he said he wanted me to stay. So I’m disappointed that one minute I was staying and the next minute I’m gone," he told reporters.
“It was a surprise because it happened so quick. One minute I was in the starting XI for Liverpool, and the next I was on my way to London.
“I was playing in the team and playing regularly and that’s why I was surprised to be told that a fee had been accepted. It is normally when you are not playing, or you are not in the squad is why you leave.”
Downing will join up with former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, who also left the Anfield club for east London earlier this summer in a deal worth £15m.