1 Nov 2014

Molby: 'Outstanding' €18m star is the ideal partner for Balotelli. Start vs. Newcastle?

On Thursday, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hailed Fabio Borini's performance against Swansea as 'outstanding', and hinted that he may be in the running for a start against Newcastle on Saturday. 'Outstanding' is - as usual - a gross exaggeration from the manager, but Borini had a decent game overall, and Reds legend Jan Molby believes that he could be an asset alongside Mario Balotelli.

Speaking to reporters this week, Rodgers raved:

"I thought Fabio was outstanding. His pace, movement and work rate gave them [Swansea] problems.

"You need to have that mobility; the willingness to take risks, and to work your socks off. Fabio did that.”

In his column for the Liverpool Echo today, Molby argued that Borini - the subject of an €18m summer offer from Sunderland - is the 'type of player Mario needs beside him', and outlined the qualities the Italian brings to the team. He explained:

"He [Borini] is always moving, always dragging defenders out of position and making angles for forward passes. He's willing to sacrifice himself for the team, he and Balotelli can strike up a bit of partnership and get things going".

Despite his slightly improved performance against Swansea, I disagree that Borini is the answer. It's a moot point anyway as he almost certainly won't start the game.

If the Italian is to start, who misses out: Coutinho? Sterling? Lallana? All three are ahead of Borini in the LFC pecking order, and with Gerrard also coming back into the team, there's no room for him.

Additionally, there'll be no time to build up a partnership with Balotelli because the minute Sturridge is fit, he'll go straight back into the team, which will reduce Borini's first team chances even more.

There is one other possibility: Balotelli is benched, and Borini plays as a lone striker. That may be an option worth considering, but after scoring against Swansea, it seems unlikely that Rodgers will disrupt Balo's momentum by scrapping him from the starting line-up.



  1. My team:


    Manquillo - Skrtel - Lovren - Moreno


    Henderson - Coutinho


    Borini - Balotelli

    Circumstances permitting: Bring on Lallana in the second half for Sterling/Coutinho. Bring on Can for Borini. Johnson for Manquillo. Keeps Manquillo fit for Real. Lallana gets a bit of game time and stays sharp and one of Coutinho or Sterling gets to stay fresh for Real. Can shores things up with an extra body in midfield.

  2. against Newcastle i would like to see


  3. I remember Borini played well in a cup game before, then started the following league game and was absolute shite. I can see the same happening again, Liverpool don't have many options though. Playing with one striker doesn't suit us and Balotelli would just get isolated and frustrated.

  4. imo lallana's performance have not been great enough to put him ahead of others players, he had 1 good match since then nothing.

    sterling is looking more and more like he s believing his own hype, loosing the ball poorly and tracking back when he feel like it but he get a free pass because he s an english lad who finished his formation with liverpool.
    I actually think we kept the ball up front quite well but that could be the cup effect with swansea not playing at 100%.

    I d put coutinho behind Borini and Balo with an henderson-allen-gerrard midfield, but i expect Rodgers to put the team with lallana and sterling on balotelli's side with coutinho on the bench.

  5. Sterling always tracks back and is one of the hardest working players. Nonsense innit!

  6. KEV... I agree, I have been saying this for ages and people just get on my back? I think that some of these people should watch the games and make there own judgment and stop listening to the hype like Stirling does, when he looses the ball he either gets a gob on him or fouls trying to get it back, and I also think that he should learn how to look for a man when crossing into the box instead of just kicking it blindly.

  7. CHULO... Try watching the games will you, he does not help the team at all, He runs around like a headless chook.

  8. Not only does he track back, he's the main source of creativity. Without his dribbling, assist/goals we would be nowhere. Coutinho's poor form at the start of the season made us even more reliant on Sterling. To the point where he's begging for a rest! HENDO for all his endevour is not creative enough, Lallana has been good but still underwhelming. Our tactics against Madrid the other day was here Raheem have the ball & work your magic. That's how ridiculous things have become!

  9. Borini should be in the team wherever that is and in whatever formation we have proved without a shadow of a doubt that there isn't another player in the squad with the exception of SG who can toss a ball in the way he did for Ballos goal.

    On another note I see SG has hit the press looking to get the Liverpool faithful to apply pressure on the board to give him a new contract. With some supporters SG has a place in the team for life. It really seems as though SG is looking after his own interests here in saying what he did

    “I won’t be retiring this summer,”
    Gerrard says. “I will play beyond this season. We will have to wait and see
    if that’s at Liverpool or somewhere else. That’s Liverpool’s decision.”

    In other words I want a new contract that I don't really deserve (like Raheem Sterling) and I'm willing to use the press (like Raheem Sterling) to get it. Im waiting for Carra to come out and lay into SG BIG TIME........... like he did with Raheem. We can always rely on Carra to be impartial (even though he played on 3 years to long) :s

  10. Sterling is being turned into a defensive right mid. I see him next to our full back more than I do the oppositions. Sterling needs to be played up front.

  11. Borini must start after his performance against Swansea, he dropped into space and made things happen, he hunted down the ball too, nobody else does that without Sturridge.....................he looks a different player!!!

  12. Borini has a good brain.

  13. Off topic but in my humble opinion other than playing two up top as being the way forward attacking wise, Rodgers has to break the Skrtel/Lovren partnership and give Toure a chance alongside Lovren. Stats are not the be all and end all but Lovren is edging Skrtel (see below Opta stats). We desperately need somebody who can take our back four by the scruff of the neck and Toure has leadership qualities and is from what I have seen much quicker than Skrtel too. Newcastle are going to hit us where it hurts most and that is at set pieces. My money is on us conceding a minimum of 2 goals should we continue to start with Skrtel and Lovren today and may the angels be watching over us if Johnson starts as well.

  14. If we do not give Sterling that lucrative contract then he will go for peanuts should Madrid come knocking. FSG did the right thing by renewing Suarez's contract last December and also made him the clubs biggest earner. If FSG did not do that then Suarez would have gone for half of what he was eventually sold for. The club needs to to protect itself from vultures and if it means making Sterling one of our highest earners then so be it if it is going to make us a pretty penny should Sterling decide he wants to move on.

    FSG most probably will only allow a 1 year extension and Stevie is probably thinking that he can get a four year deal in the USA perhaps? He has been one of our best players ever. Pity he has not had the chance to lift then holy grail yet. Rafa was also right by getting rid of Alonso right?

  15. Swansea was Borini's best game in red. He looked quicker than I remember (sorry Logan) and looked physically more up for the challenge. Sterling has looked tired and off form, Lallana is getting up to speed and has been a touch inconsistent. If either of those players are dropped to the bench that is fine by me as we can still call on them if needed.

  16. Not only does Borini have decent pace, energy and movement, he chases down defenders which is what we need upfront right now. He got into really good scoring positions too which shows he is hungry to get on the score sheet. Not going to get you 20 goals a season but should be starting ahead of Lambert.

  17. Lovren is a worry in the air though.

  18. Would have to agree. When losing bitey we not only lost his ability but his work rate. Borini will give us that at least.

  19. Our problem is defending set pieces when we are in the box. Skrtel is just as guilty as Lovren. They get bullied far to easily.

  20. Yhe stats suggest Lovren is worse in the air though. I agree about Skrtel though.

  21. Lovren total aerial duels: 55
    Skrtel total aerial duels: 31

    Lovren aerial duels won per game: 4.22
    Skrtel aerial duels won per game: 3.57

    if you look at it this way then Lovren still ahead.

  22. "when Sturridge is fit"
    He aint gonna play again this season trust me on that.
    He will be out till next season its like Jack Wilshere in 2011 season, too injury prone.
    Sturridge is really good and is capable of being a main forward but because of injury cannot be relied upon Liverpool need to scour the market for a top forward

  23. You would agree with Kev as it is you.

  24. Do you think you're the only one here that goes to / watches games? Opinions differ mate, don't get so emotional.

  25. Ever the optimist

  26. I think we should start Borini up front with Mario today. We've been desperate for movement and work rate up front, Fabio supplies that in abundance. We need a quick start today. Been far too slow out the blocks so far this season

  27. I would also consider having Henderson switch places with Gerrard occasionally throughout the game to disrupt Newcastle's plan of heavily marking Gerrard. This is why we saw Gerrard push up further against West Brom, and he might do the same today.

  28. The difference is that Arsenal's fitness staff seem to be hopeless with all their players, whether it be Ramsey, or Wilshere, or Ozil, or Vermaelen, or Walcott, or...what's his name again? Ah, Diaby, that's right...

  29. But that is the problem with playing 2 holding mids and 1 up top.

    The opposition isolate the lone striker and our midfield is sitting back trying to baby our defence.

    The only way we will win matches is by scoring goals. If you are conceding as many as you are scoring then that is a massive problem. We need to play like we did last season. You score 3 we will score 4. Not going to happen with one upfront though.

  30. Ferguson moved on the legends to preserve the club like young Scholes and Giggs or the bunch of has beens he left behind.

  31. Comments from Lallana's latest interview.

    "We've got new players, a new system and people still adjusting. That's going to take some time, but we know we can improve sooner."

    Clearly that new system is sh!te and should be scraped :-)

  32. I am coming around to the 4231(despite no reasons on the pitch, well few) when Swansea had tried to put a bit of pressure on our CBs they always had options for the pass and when they had an attack we looked more solid. Rodgers is clearly trying to solve the defensive issues but it clearly needs a lot of work. The diamond didn't work instantly and most wanted it scrapped but it came good. This is taking longer but I can definitely see why we are doing it. We don't have the same attacking talent so we had to change. BRod is trying to build his plane and it is stuttering ofvthw runway but I have faith it can get ibvth air.
    How quickly my optimism will fade if we lose today.

  33. Lambert Borini, Mario coming in for Lambert at 55th.

  34. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:12 am, November 01, 2014

    so my team for today:

    ...................................................balotelli .............borini

  35. Coutinho is much worse in defending this season.

  36. Nevergonnacrackthecodes11:25 am, November 01, 2014

    we need jackson martinez
    we have so many wingers and midfielders one top hitman


    bench: ,markovic,can,lallana,allen

    allen and can can play in that gerrard controller position

    all our investment should go on martinez

  37. Do you really want to negotiate with Porto? Porto and Benfica have the best negotiators in the world. Benfica sold us Markovic for 20 mil when he was clearly not worth that. If they sell Markovic for 20 mil, how much would Martinez be worth? We had the chance to get him for peanuts few years back but it aint happening now.

  38. I have my money on us conceding a minimum of 2 goals should we continue with Skrtel and Lovren as our centre back pair and help us should Johnson start too irrespective of the tactics formation etc.

  39. Confirmed #LFC team to face Newcastle: Mignolet, Johnson, Moreno, Lovren, Skrtel, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Balotelli.

    substitutes: Jones, Toure, Manquillo, Lallana, Can, Lambert, Borini.

  40. Newcastle going to score more than 2 gaols against us today. Wait and see.

  41. so sterling will be playing up top with balo ?

  42. Now balotelli will be playing up on his own as usual.

  43. How the hell does Johnson still get into the team??

  44. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:47 am, November 01, 2014

    no borini?

  45. Rodgers is trying to justify his massive wages and hopes FSG will somehow offer GJ a new contract :-o

  46. at least he's on bench.

    I think it's okay to start with one striker and chance to diamond if goal is needed after 60 minutes.

  47. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:48 am, November 01, 2014



    lets face it manquillo needs to conserve all his energy for that

  48. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:49 am, November 01, 2014

    want to see link up play
    between sterling,coutinho and allen

  49. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:50 am, November 01, 2014

    oh no!

    i just realized this is the exact team that got spanked vs rela madrid

    please can someone tell me i am wrong?

    atleast rodgers is finding his best team though

  50. I could not care less about the Madrid game.. We are going to get tanked regardless but this is a must win.. Arsenal has a very presentable game and we have to play our best team and Johnson is not in that..

  51. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:51 am, November 01, 2014

    why rodgers why you never pick my team?
    i picked your team last season everything went great now you dont lsiten

  52. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:52 am, November 01, 2014

    What if RAFA benitez had your attitude would we have a 5th European cup?
    im confident we will win 2-1 vs real Madrid
    at bernebau but lose today

  53. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:53 am, November 01, 2014

    My prediction based on line ups

    3-1 newcastle
    sterling for us
    newcastle 1 coloccini 1 ameboi 1 ciise

  54. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:55 am, November 01, 2014

    johnson is actually decent
    manquillo needs time to adapt to pace of english football carling cup should give him that

  55. Collocini-Balotelli. Red card, let's hope it goes our way...

  56. I prefer to overlook your sides mainly due to your poor grammar and spelling try Ameobi and Cisse for a start then theres your pick players who do not even play for us like Schneiderlin all the time.

  57. I think it's more his willingness to help out his full back - which should be commended. As long as it doesn't detract from his attacking which is why he's in the team after all.

  58. did they play every week without fail or just when their experience was required? roll out the stats

  59. read my other posts. Im not saying Sterling shouldnt be given the money. I previously said he is cashing in on the hype because he isnt that good. Give him the cash WHY should LFC make all the money. My point here was he solicitered himself through the media in the same way Gerrard is now doing yet double standards arise in that no one bats a SG sized eyelid.

    Out of Alonso's 5 seasons only his 1st and last season were of a high standard so you are kind of barking up the wrong tree there. For All Alonso's talent he hadnt performed for three years. There comes a time when any manager says enough. In Alonso's last season his attitude was focused... focused on leaving and his performances went through the roof as a result. In the semi or quarter final against Chelsea (CL) the season previous Alonso got battered from pillar to post. I was screaming at the TV then 'Get him out!' My surprise is that Alonso didn't feel he was poor for three consecutive years.

  60. I dont think it's willingness it's instruction and to his credit he carries it out. Our 4-3-3 is very much a 4-5-1. It hampers Sterling's game big time.

  61. Well fifty percent right.

  62. Thats not moving them on early Burt we all know what you mean admit your wrong.

  63. Fergie wasn't dumb he didn't tar everyone with the same brush just the players with the potential to challenge his authority. Man Utd were still at the time winning titles. Their own fans wanted Scholes and Giggs replaced with young expensive talent.

    The difference with our fans is they believe/d our two legends gerrard and Carra could stay and play for as long as they want. A manager therefore puts his job on the line when he drops a legend ( Gullit - SHearer) for fear of pissing of the player and alienating the fans. 'Real' Idolic Legends in mediocre sides therefore cant be dropped, what they do is play on for as long as hey want and retire when they feel they have had enough.

    This is basically what I meant when I said Fergie gets them out early. He assess who is a threat to his control over team matters and gets you out when he is winning. He almost never ships out a 'legend' when the team is on a low...... he anticipates the low and acts accordingly.

    My definition of early is not necessarily relative to the age of the player more the foresight Fergie had on the player in question affecting his authority by creating a power battle either in the dressing room, amongst the fans or both. Keane was a good example of this and if Fergie had stayed Rooney would have been next.