Life has not been kind to Fabio Borini since his 10.5 million pounds summer move to Anfield. The player, a footballing wayfarer up until now, must have dreamt that, at Liverpool, he could curb his vagabond tendencies and simply settle. His presence in the early sides Brendan Rodgers fielded as Liverpool boss, suggested that Borini may have finally found his niche. When he scored on his Anfield debut against FC Gomel, and debuted his peculiar celebration ritual, the fans were beginning to dream of a new scoring hero.
Alas, the goals dried up immediately, despite some encouraging and lively performances, in which the young Italian showed ample intelligence and an eagerness to work hard for his team. In a fiendish twist of fate, all too disappointingly familiar to Liverpool fans this season, Borini's progress was halted by a broken foot, which kept him out from October to January. His comeback, which was limited given the signing of Daniel Sturridge, lasted barely a month and on the 17th of February the striker dislocated his shoulder and had been absent from the first team squad until last week.
How pleasing it was, then, to see his goalscoring return at the Mike Ashley Sport Park Centre Direct, eh, Place. After a threatening run and pull back by Stewart Downing (apologies LSD), Borini trapped with his left and hit a quite excellent finish with his instep, which curled away from the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net. It was a goal of real craft and instinct, one to excite Liverpool fans eager for the Italian international to finally come good with a Liverbird on his chest.
After such a purgatorial spell, one could forgive the player some triumphalism and solipsism, but even in his post-match excitement and enthusiasm, when he spoke to Liverpoolfc.com, the forward remembered to acknowledge others.
"It was a big emotion for me to score my first goal in the Premier League for Liverpool, especially after a long injury and a long wait for it," gushed Borini. "What made it even better for me was that it came in front of the Liverpool supporters so I could celebrate with them. I just wanted to thank them for their support and they have really helped me through my injuries."
It's been a real slog for Borini to get back to fitness for a second time but he proudly recounts how he "fought back" in order to "come back earlier." He is enthused about the remaining games, even in the absence of the excellent Luis Suarez.
"We have always been together as a group and I think the performance against Newcastle showed that. I can play a big part now, not because Luis is suspended, but because I am back fit. Whether Luis is available or not, we all need to focus on doing our jobs. The goal was also for the manager, the staff and my team-mates because it has been hard for me but I wanted to thank them for the work they had done with me."
There is one sure-fire way for Fabio Borini to endear himself to the Liverpool fans forever and that would be to score a winner against Everton at the weekend. The striker missed the Goodison derby and he is full of anticipation ahead of the Anfield showdown.
"It will be my first derby and I can't wait. I have played for Roma against Lazio in the derby so I know the feeling about this match and what it means to the supporters. I think this will be a similar atmosphere to the Roma-Lazio derby and hopefully we can win the game."
If Borini manages to decide the match in Liverpool's favour, I will personally do his knife-in-the-teeth celebration through as many of Liverpool's public houses as is physically possible, on Sunday night. The young Italian is a very promising player who needs to shrug off a reputation for fragility and prove himself to be worthy of a place in Liverpool's starting attack. Everton would be the team against which most of us would like him to start that process.