With FIFA handing Luis Suarez a four month ban from football in recent days, most people at Liverpool Football Club will be frustrated, worried and no doubt counting down the days until they can see that number seven shirt on the Anfield turf again. I say most people because there is at least one person who comes to mind who will be somewhat excited about this opportunity that has presented itself to him.
The career of Fabio Borini is one that I have followed from his early days at Chelsea, where first team opportunities are notoriously few and far between for any emerging young talents. Chasing more time on the pitch, the fiery Italian was loaned to Swansea for the second half of the 2010/11 season, and this was when England began to take note of the talent this boy had to offer. His time in Wales was short, but prosperous. He featured in just 11 games but managed to score six times and assist a further three goals and played in all three play-off matches as he helped The Jacks clinch promotion to the Premier League.
Borini parted ways with English football that summer, as he returned to his homeland to play for Roma under newly-appointed Luis Enrique. The former Barcelona player was keen to implement a philosophy based on attacking football and the individuals he had at his disposal certainly accommodated for that. Borini was joined in Rome by an abundance of vigorous, dynamic, attacking players who rotated like the planets in our solar system. Players including Miralem Pjanic, Erik Lamela, Bojan Krkić and Pablo Osvaldo orbited the indispensable Francesco Totti. The Giallorossi finished the season in a disappointing 7th place but were the fourth highest scorers in Serie A behind just Napoli, Milan and champions Juventus.
His time at Roma was without doubt the most successful period of his career to date. Although they disappointed in their league finish, they played a very attractive brand of football and their downfall was their defence as they conceded 54 goals, just two less than relegated Lecce. He finished the season in double figures for goals, finding the net ten times in his 26 appearances, six of which were as a substitute.
When Borini left Italy for Liverpool, it was the opinion of many that he might find it difficult to regain his form in England as it was very much the style deployed by Roma which played a huge part in making him look so brilliant, rather than he himself being the sole reason for his success.
After an injury plagued first season on Merseyside, Borini was loaned to Sunderland where he had a relatively progressive season. He scored huge goals as he and his team fought their way to safety from being in a position that manager Gus Poyet said they needed a miracle to survive from. These goals included a winning penalty in games against both Manchester United and Chelsea respectively. Their miracle became a real possibility when Borini scored a penalty to end Jose Mourinho’s record of 77 matches unbeaten at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea boss.
With Suarez set to miss the opening nine Premier League games for Liverpool, as well as their first three Champions League games, the 23-year-old has a chance to secure a starting place in the side. This season looks promising for Borini, he will be looking to replicate his Roma form and develop an understanding with Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Rickie Lambert.
It’s likely that he will have more than enough chances in front of goal in the Uruguayan’s absence as the fixtures without Suarez include games against QPR, Hull City, West Brom, West Ham, Aston Villa and Southampton while they face tougher opposition like Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham as well. With these opening fixtures in mind, there is no reason to suggest why Borini can’t be a success at Liverpool.