It's not ha-ha funny, but it's still funny nonetheless how things turned out for Fabio Borini and Liverpool. All but sold as the club's US tour got underway, most of the discussion about his career on Merseyside was already taking place in the past tense, and the money the club were to receive from Sunderland already spent elsewhere. But personal terms were never agreed, and the rest of the summer was spent wondering what the hell was actually going on with the Italian striker. He resurfaced on deadline day, with Sunderland back in and QPR agreeing a fee with Liverpool, but yet again, Borini managed to stay put.
His stubbornness was either praised or criticized; among the reasons provided for the latter was the notion that he was staying to sit on the bench, happy to get a pay check for doing absolutely nothing. No reason to believe that was actually a thing--at least in terms of his reasoning--but minutes certainly looked as though they'd be limited, especially with Mario Balotelli joining in the final days of the window.
Fast forward to this week and it's three appearances in three, with late cameos against Villa and Ludogorets and a well-earned start in yesterday's loss at West Ham. And while the results haven't gone according to plan, he's enjoying the chances that have come his way after the summer drama:
"I'm very pleased. I'll keep working hard; today was the first game back, I'm quite happy with how I've done and I'll keep working from this. The language and style we play can help. Obviously we need to gel better. We need time to play together. When you play a two [up front], you need to gel not only together but also with the team, because we have both got different kinds of movement.
"The advantage of playing every three days is that you can prove yourself after the mistakes at the weekend."
With a place in the squad at least tenuously secured, next comes the actual impact. If he's going to make his mark, he's going to have to provide a finishing touch of some sort--against Ludogorets he headed straight at goal from a wonderful Javier Manquillo cross, and yesterday he wasted an opportunity to square for an unmarked Alberto Moreno, instead choosing to shoot from a tight angle that failed to test Adrian, before sending a curling effort that could have leveled the match just over the crossbar .
And while the individual and collective efforts disappointed yesterday, there's at least evidence that Fabio Borini can have an influence in this Liverpool squad. With reasons for positivity proving few and far between this week, that's something worth appreciating.
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