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A rant in favour of apparent ‘outcast’ at Liverpool, Fabio Borini

Despite all the reports, Fabio Borini has remained at Liverpool with no intention of leaving, instead, looking to fight for his place at the club. Supporters seemed disappointed, given the potential high price that would have been received. But Aakriti Mehrotra writes rants, why not praise the Italian for his determination to stay at Anfield?

Liverpool fans, and possibly the management was ecstatic when Sunderland offered a sum of £14m for Borini’s services earlier in the summer. The Reds had already brought in Rickie Lambert as the third choice striker for the side and that kind of sum for a player not in Brendan Rodgers’ immediate plans was brilliant for the club, financially. But Borini rejected the advances and expressed his desire to stay with the Reds. The Merseyside club clearly still weren’t keen on him and invited further negotiations for the player leading into the final days of the window. On deadline day, Borini seemed like he was going to newly promoted QPR for £10m, still a very good price. But the Italian didn’t want to leave the Reds and priced himself out of the move demanding £90k in wages.

Borini later took to Twitter to express his satisfaction at staying back with Liverpool and said ‘he protected the man he is’. The player then even ‘favourited’ hate message from some fans who evidently didn’t want the player to stay at the club.

He recently told Gianluca Di Marzio that he wants to stay to improve. “If I stayed at Liverpool it’s because I think I could compete. Of course, there are excellent players here, but you can’t win all the competitions with weak ones. I want to turn the great competition into an advantage and improve day after day.”

Borini Liverpool

His determination to stay back with Liverpool is something that should be admired. Why wouldn’t you want to play for a club which is playing the prestigious Champions League? Why is a player who wants to fight to stay at the top, being questioned, and being bombarded with hate messages?

As for chances with the first team, for now it seems that they would be limited to domestic cup competitions and substitute appearances. But if Borini can do well in them, there is no doubt that he would give Rickie Lambert a fight for the third option and can then gradually come more in the first team picture.

Take a player like Bojan for instance. He started out from the very top, and then gradually receded to the background. Even though he is only 23, a story which starts from Barcelona and is currently at Stoke, is one which comes as an alarm to young players. Bojan’s best moments came under Frank Rijkaard, and the Spaniard has moaned time and again over the fact that if he was under the guidance of the Dutchman, he would still be at the very top, giving Messi a run for his money. Borini’s best moments have came under Brendan Rodgers. Why isn’t he right in every sense to want to stay with the manager who is leading a club that finished last season two points adrift of the league win and under whom at Swansea, he garnered such appreciation from the fans that he was even likened to Filippo Inzaghi?

The Italian doesn’t lack in skill. In his first game for Swansea, he instantly fit into Rodgers’ desired system. He scored two goals and played his striker role to perfection. He also drifted to the flanks and created width for his side and opened space for Dobbie and Sinclair to the damage centrally. Coming short for the ball at the right times and playing off the last man to devastating effect.

During the 2012 summer transfer window, there were indications that Jordan Henderson would also be shipped off along with Kenny’s infamous signing, Stewart Downing. He was offered in a cash plus player deal for Clint Dempsey. However, Henderson, the name on every Liverpool fan’s lips, asked the manager to let him stay on and let him fight for his place. He wanted to prove to the Kop faithful that he was more than the player they saw every week always passing the ball backwards. One year on, Henderson is possibly the most dynamic player in the Liverpool team, the one sure starter in every game and guess what, a story which did rounds at the end of last season claims that when Rodgers was asked at the end of the Newcastle game where he thought his side lost the league, he apparently said that he knew it was over when Henderson was red carded. He said he understood that that was one man he couldn’t replace in the team. Why the England international is being praised to no ends is that his case has been so similar to Borini’s, barring the fact that Henderson did in fact, get more chances in a Liverpool shirt before the 2012 window. The England international played for Liverpool 31 times in the league after his transfer (2011/12). Borini has not even got his fair share of chances at Liverpool (his injury problems haven’t helped in that regard). Why shouldn’t he fight for his place?

Liverpool are now competing in four competitions. Having another striker within the squad, especially with Sturridge’s well documented injury problems, can only help the side. Liverpool, at the time of writing, are without the services of Emre Can, Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge, Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel for the next game(s). The 9 summer signings and the good work of Rodgers & co. has ensured that the side doesn’t seem handicapped without these names, especially since they fixtures are coming thick and fast. Isn’t having Borini in the squad proving to be a very good option at the moment? Squad rotation, handling fatigue will both be factors that Rodgers welcomes at this crucial early stage.

Add to that, tactical flexibility. Last season, the Italian was employed by Gus Poyet as a striker and on the left flank. Liverpool have so far used the 4-4-2 diamond or the 4-3-3 formation and are likely to continue with these. In both these systems, Borini can easily be accommodated. In fact, the diamond formation works best for the Reds. In the absence of Sturridge, Rodgers used the 4-3-3 with Balotelli as the sole striker and Liverpool couldn’t cause much penetration in the Villa box and failed to cause any offensive damage. Balotelli is a player who is extremely talented but not very mobile. He requires the pace of another player alongside him. Daniel Sturridge will be the first choice for the Liverpool boss every time, but in his absence, Borini should be given the nod ahead of Rickie Lambert. The Englishman is also not the most mobile player and plays more as a target man. Having two similar type strikers would not help the side and Borini’s pace and movement could help the Reds more. In the 4-3-3 system, Borini can be played on the flanks. He would naturally play as a wide forward or an inward winger and regularly move inside the box helping out the other striker with the striking duties along-with linking up with fellow attackers. Having Borini in the squad therefore gives Rodgers more options, naturally.

Borini can expect to feature as a substitute from time to time. The Italian forward will probably see his name on the bench in the upcoming matches, irrespective of whether Rodgers plays the 4-4-2 diamond formation or the 4-3-3.

The 23 year old will have to take the chances he gets with both hands and make the best of anything that comes his way. He should use the confidence of last season where he became such a key figure for the Black Cats than feel hurt that Liverpool tried to ship him off on several occasions and show Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool supporters that he has a lot to give to the club.

Written by Aakriti Mehrotra

Read all articles in the Shankly’s Men Team Blog

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