There is, however, a healthy competition for places now and England winger Downing feels Houllier's arrival will help to reinvigorate the players.
"The new manager isn't bothered about players' names or egos," he said.
"All the squad is on their toes and competition is healthy. Nigel has come in and done very well. Stephen Ireland has just come to the club but he is finding it hard to get in the team at the minute.
"I am sure he is disappointed but Nigel deserves to play. That is the way it is, no matter who you are or how much you cost.
"We're all fighting to be in the team. We all want to play so everyone is starting afresh."