Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Thursday May 15 2014
After scoring in the post-season friendly against Shamrock Rovers, Italian forward Fabio Borini has been assured of his Liverpool future...
Liverpool's season-ending friendly against Shamrock Rovers last night was the ideal opportunity for Reds manager Brendan Rodgers to put a couple of unwanted players into the proverbial shop window.
Unlike his strike partner at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Iago Aspas, Italian international Fabio Borini appears unlikely to be one of those destined for the Anfield exit door this summer.
Both Borini and Aspas were on target in yesterday's 4-0 win but it was the returning loanee who Rodgers was full of praise for at the final whistle.
The 23-year-old spent last season with Sunderland, scoring 10 goals in 40 appearances, as the Black Cats successfully retained their Premier League status despite a prolonged relegation battle.
"I thought Fabio was excellent," commented the Northern Irishman. "With Fabio, it was just a case of us having Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, who I felt were going to play a lot of games.
"We had no European football, and Luis is so robust and plays every minute of every game. We were always going to be limited in terms of the game time we could offer Fabio.
"I felt for his development it was best he went on loan. It was nothing to do with me not thinking he was a quality player because I know him better than anyone.
"He needed to go out and get games, and to prove his worth and get experience, and he's done that.
"He has shown, especially in the big games, that he can score goals at this level. We have got back a better player.
"Now, a year later, he will come back into our squad this summer. And you saw there with his pace and his power and his ability to get a goal, he is going to add to the quality that we already have."
Borini cost the Merseysiders £10.5million when he joined from Roma in 2012 but endured an injury plagued first 12 months at the club.
A broken foot was followed by a dislocated shoulder as a player Rodgers already knew well, following time spent together at both Chelsea and Swansea City, was restricted to just 20 appearances and two goals.
His spell at the Stadium of Light last term was much more fruitful however and a host of impressive performances and crucial goals included a late penalty against former side Chelsea which ultimately helped Liverpool to finish above the Londoners.
Borini, who was subsequently named Sunderland's Young Player of the Year, certainly believes he has benefitted from his spell on Wearside, telling Liverpoolfc.com after his scoring return: "I learned more about the game, to wait and adapt during the game.
"Before, I found that more difficult; I was starting the game one way and finishing the same.
"Now I can change my game and adapt to what is actually happening on the pitch, which is really important to maturing.
'It was a little bit hard at the beginning, because we were fighting all the time. We managed to get out of that situation and it was a great feeling."
I've always admired Borini's enthusiasm and work-rate on a football pitch but he lacked subtlety and composure in the final third when he first arrived at Anfield. Playing regularly does appear to have helped him improve in these regards and there is no doubt a fit and confident Borini could prove very useful next season. With his ability to play out wide, as well as through the middle, and Liverpool's return to the Champions League heralding a bigger workload, keeping him makes a lot of sense.
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Date:Thursday May 15 2014
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