To say that things haven't gone to plan for Fabio Borini on his return to England would be an understatement. Injuries, loans, and having seemingly fallen surplus to requirements for the manager who brought him back after previous spells together at Swansea and in the Chelsea academy, Borini now finds himself on the fringes of Liverpool's first team.
Now, with Daniel Sturridge set to return from injury, his already limited chances appear to be on the verge of becoming even more so. The 23-year-old Italian refuses to let the situation get him down, though, and he remains certain that he can prove his worth at Liverpool; that so long as he can stay fit, he can take his chances when they come and tie down a spot moving forward.
"There's a lot of desire because my first year was unfortunate," Borini said this week in an interview with Sky Sports. "I had injuries that I couldn't control, a broken foot and then my shoulder. That was nobody's fault and no one can control that. Then I was away at Sunderland and I did well, so I think that this is the year to actually make my point."
As admirable as his attitude may be, though, it's hard to look at his situation at the club and see things ending the way he might like. That's because over the past month, despite Sturridge's injury and that Liverpool have looked far more consistently dangerous this season any time they've played with two strikers, Borini found himself stuck on the bench more often than not.
To many observers, the young striker did enough in what limited time he was given to have earned at least a little more of it. It never came, and Brendan Rodgers remained focused on trying to find ways to make a single-striker system work. Still, it's hard to fault Borini for his hope, his attitude, and for his determination to make things work at Liverpool no matter what.
It just might be that, right or wrong, his hopes are entirely unconnected to the reality of his situation. Based on his limited chances over the past month it's far easier to make that case than the opposite.