10 Feb 2013

Fabio Borini: Destined for failure at LFC?

Fabio Borini has endured a difficult start to his Liverpool career, with many fans - myself included - feeling a little underwhelmed by his performances so far. Obviously, after a season-interrupting injury, it will take time for the Italian to settle properly, but I just don't see where he fits into the team either now or in the future, and with Reds coach Brendan Rodgers constantly playing him out of position, Borini is destined for failure at Anfield.

Right now, Borini is (arguably) a man without a position. It's clear from watching him play that he's unsure of his role in the team, and this has contributed to his inability to impose himself on games.

We keep hearing that Borini is 'one for the future', but when that future arrives, and after the bedding-in period is over, where will he be playing, and at whose expense?

Wide left/right?

Borini is a striker, not a winger, and his contribution from wide areas this season is zilch. No goals, no assists, and barely any chances created. He usually becomes a passenger very quickly, and this was evident in his recent performances against Man United and Oldham. Sometimes, I even forget Borini is on the field as he rarely makes any impact, but that usually happens when you put square pegs in round holes.

Additionally, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Stewart Downing, Luis Suarez, Jose Enrique, and now Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool have players in the squad who are used to playing out wide, and they're far more effective than Borini. If the aforementioned players are fit, they will always get in the team ahead of Borini, and so they should.

Central striker?

This is a non-starter. Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are both in pole position here, and it's telling to note that Borini has only started ONE game as a central striker since arriving at the club. To add insult to injury, the signing of Sturridge is a clear vote of no confidence in the striker. As soon as Sturridge arrived, Rodgers shunted Luis Suarez out wide to accommodate him, but he didn't do that for Borini. Why?

It must mean that Rodgers doesn't trust the Italian up front, and if that's the case, why the hell did he spend £12m on him in the first place? Also, if Rodgers believes that Borini can do the business as a striker, why sign Sturridge in January...?

Borini is a striker. He played there for Swansea and scored 9 goals in 12 games; he plays up front for Italy, and scored in his last U21 game in that role. He's proved that if you play him up front, he'll score. Yet Rodgers refuses to play him in the correct position, which seems strange considering he witnessed Borini's striking capabilities at Swansea.

In my view, by playing him out of position, Rodgers has set Borini on the path to failure at Anfield. I just don't understand the manager's thought process when signing him:

* If he bought Borini with the intention of playing him out wide, then his transfer judgement needs to be seriously questioned. Why would you gamble £12m on a player with no solid experience of playing out wide? Why not spend that money on a dedicated wide player?

* If Rodgers bought him to play as a striker, why has he not given him a consistent chance up-front? Borini made 11 appearances Prior to his injury, but played up front for a mere 63 minutes against Sunderland.

* After returning from injury, Borini has featured three times, and he's played out wide every time, making zero impact. Consequently, he's spent the last two games warming the bench, which can't be good for his confidence.

As a comparison, consider Jordan Henderson last season: constantly played out of position on the right, and barely made any impact on the team. This season, he's played in his natural position, and performed really well. However, it's easier in midfield because there are three positions to fight for; there is only one striker position, with three players currently fighting it out, and if Sturridge and Suarez are fit, one of those two will always be preferred to Borini.

What evidence is there to suggest that Borini has the tools to grow into a top class wide player? Is he good enough in that role to keep Sterling, Coutinho, Suso, and even Downing out of the team? Will Rodgers keep Sturridge or Suarez on the bench to give Borini a long run up in the team as a central striker? I can't see it.

It's not a question of ability - no player will prosper if they are played out of position and/or are unsure of their role in the team, and if Borini fails, it won't be his fault - it will be Rodgers' fault for buying a player and then grossly misusing him.

Rodgers seems to have struck gold with Sturridge, but his overall record in the transfer market is pretty poor so far, and there's a disturbing pattern emerging with regards to his failed signings:

* Sahin: Good player. Didn't really fit into the team. Played out of position.
* Allen: Good player. Not really needed in the team. Rodgers unsure of best position.
* Borini: Good player. Doesn't really fit into the team. Played out of position.

You get the picture. Just imagine if all the money spent on those three had been used on players the club actually needed and/or were capable of making a real difference. I don't think it's an exaggeration to suggest that if Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League this season, Rodgers wastefulness in the transfer market will be one of the major reasons why.

Ultimately, unless Borini wants to be a bit-part squad player, he should do himself a favour and leave in the summer.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Borini is a squad player. He is 21 years of age. Anytime I have watched him, I have been extremely impressed with his movement. He might not of scored 2 many goals but has set them up with his clever runs, taking defenders out of the game.

    He is a striker. Daniel Sturridge, Suarez, Borini. With Suarez being played in a different role recently, him and suarez have been playing on the pitch together. This leaves us with one striker on the bench...Borini. Thankfully he can play along the top 3 but his preferred position is CF,

    Remember he has only come back from injury, quiet a bad injury. I believe I have seen enough of Borini to believe he will turn out to be a success at anfield. He hasn't been playing so obviously it will be hard for him.

    Again Jamie...you are focusing on negative stuff again. Why not write an article on how well we have been playing recently.
    STeve Clarke was quoted saying that Liverpool are currently playing the best football in the league. I would bet my life if Steve Clarke came out and said we were rubbish that you would have written an article about it.

  2. I am getting so sick of your constant bitching. This is not a 'Luis, we love you, you're a god!' type-fansite; it is for critical realism about LFC, i.e taking a critical look at LFC and football in general.

    If you want ego-massage and follow-the-sheep style posts that adhere to the supposed template for what an LFC site should be, then please go elsewhere. I write about what interests me; I don't kowtow to the masses and write stuff to 'fit in'. This is about the 10th post where you've moaned about the alleged negative articles. if you post anything else moaning about the site, your comment will be deleted.

  3. You are somewhat off in your arguments.  At Roma, Borini played on the right wing more often than in the center, and he scored most of his goals there from the right forward position.

    Having said that, I agree with you that it is far from obvious that Borini can fight his way into the first LFC team at this stage.  Still, his standing in Italy is such that his market value will not substantially deteriorate even if he remains a squad player here for the next year or two.  All in all, not too bad of a transfer IMO. 

  4. Totally agree with ya Billy jaimie is a manc

  5. I disagree. Borini didn't score most of his goals from the wing for Roma. That's an inaccurate generalisation. In any event, where did I mention Roma in my article? Borini is a striker; that's his natural position, and there's nothing to suggest so far that he can perform well out wide for Liverpool. Do you think in the long run he'll be good enough out wide to keep Sterling et al out of the team?

  6. U deleted your original reply to my msg?? Just aswell cause it came across as pathetic.

  7. If Borini was to start then we have no strikers to bring on!!  We should have atleast two on the bench that are fighting to play for us when given the chance. I think Borini can be one of those and then I would like a more established player aswel, I would love to see Benteke.

    Sterling should be knowhere near the starting 11, he should be barely making the bench. Yes he has amazing potential and has done a great job for a 17/18 year old but he is one for the future, cup games and the odd late impact substitute. BTW I really rate STerling but he needs to take it handy for now.

  8. One week ban for constant sniping

  9. Ok, many players find there first couple season difficult. Drogba was the same for Chelsea in 2004-05 campaign his first season he scored 10 PL goals in 26 games. His worst season was scoring 5 goal in 24 games in the PL that was season 2008-09. Following season 2009-10 Drogba scored 29 goals in 32 games.  Although he scored 20 PL goals in his 3rd season it took him 5 seasons to get to the form Chelsea paid for. Now if you take into consideration he scored 100 goals in 226 PL games for Chelsea. Players take time to settle (new city, new home, new club, new colleagues etc...) you cant judge a player 6 months into his campaign for Liverpool after all injury has slowed Borini's progress. 

    Take Edin Djeko as another example he is scoring goals now but in his first season he score 6 goals in 21 games. Right now Borini has score 1 goal in 14 games. In 7 PL games he has scored 0 personally its too early to judge a player considering he has not even played many games. What you can only hope for is he will settle down and the goals will come that means finding the right position which will enable him to do so.

    If you look at Rodgers and his tactics a lot of players shift positions, make space, alternate between others. I can see Borini playing on the left but during the game Borni, Surarez and Sturridge roles will change. Suarez could drop to the left, leaving Boring to move to the center and Sturridge moving to the right. What I am trying to say is there is not one way of playing, lineups change during the course of the game. Having players who can change in the final 3rd by alternating is what I see BR using Borini as.

  10. trust me i dont like massaging jaimies ego ( its big enough ) but this article is spot on in all its points..its not negative its factual in its content..this isnt a liverpool appreciation forum ...its a liverpool based football forum where fans point out the good as well as the bad....fact sturridge is a good signing .....fact assadi has the potential to be a good signing if played ...fact  allen and borini have underperformed...thats not being negative its just fact.......  

  11. succuess playing where billy ..as there is no way he is better than suarez or sturridge and its as plain as the nose on my face he isnt a winger...

  12. I agree with your article Jamie. Borini IMO was a waste of money or what I like to call a "comfort buy".

    It's unfortunate he got injured but clearly he is not cut to play put wide. To me BR is too inexperienced regarding transfers. The Allen transfer is understandable since he managed him before but way over the price.

    Borini is a striker and as we have seen he is being wasted on the wing.

  13. Allen played really well early on in the season one of the stand out performers considering we had the worst start in the PL. Players form drop that's a fact. The whole team generally has under performed not just this season so just saying Allen and Borini have under performed does not seem fair to be honest.   

  14. there is no way borini can dislodge downing ( forms as good as any in squad ) sturridge & suarez ( knaps to start every game )
    courtino ( he hasnt come for the ferry ride ) sterling & suso ( great impact players so far )so where does borini fit in ..plus next year yesil and co will be nearly ready for first team action ...he will struggle to make the bench let alone the team and for 12m thats a waste

  15. fairness has nothing to do with it its fact..and the whole team hasnt underperformed ...quite a few have performed all season

  16. i think comfort buy is a good descrption .........

  17. The same way Man United manage spread out games for VP, WR, DW & JH. If you look at every top team they have competition. You cant guarantee every player will be fit that's just football in general. Players form drop for whatever reason you need players in the squad who can come in if that's the situation who will be hungry. Also, Yesil will break into the team and dislodge Borini? I find that hard to believe just because couple good Youtube videos hes hardly done wonders for u-18. If your going on performance then surely Ibe has a greater chance right now. Also Yesil injured has torn his ACL that's 9 months out. 

  18. Give it time.  He hasn't been here that long and in the time he has been here, he's played out of position or been hurt.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, he's had some nice moments but they have been too inconsistent.

    He's only 21. Give it time

  19. So why did you single out Borini (hes hardly played)? That's because every Liverpool fan jumps the gun and easily blame the new guys. Football is a team sport playing well individually counts for nothing if the team ain't playing well. Liverpool is a football club, the players play for Liverpool, Liverpool is 8th therefore Liverpool as a whole team have under performed simple as that.

  20. I think the writer of this article is a nazi for banning someone for a week for speaking their mind and simply negating your arguments. Bollocks

  21. Just consider him as squad player... Every top team have more than two striker, in case if one of them injured.. Imagine this.. If strurridge get injured and we dont have borini in our squad, that wiil leave us with one striker only, suarez.. But now we got three striker in our team, isnt it good? Before we signed sturridge, all fans moaning all the time that we need another striker. An experienced striker as back up, not the youngster.. Now we had that in our squad, and suddenly people said we dont need borini anymore.

  22. This is way too early to determine ANYTHING about a player whose probably found it difficult to settle.
    I'd wait until next season before making a judgement call on Borini.
    Gonna keep peddling this one ..If Henderson & Downing can take TWO SEASONS , baring in mind there English as well, to settle then Borini deserves at least as long.

  23. Nor was Dirk Kuyt he was not a winger, yet his work rate was amazing. Just because he is a striker does not mean he cant play on the wing. Plus the final 3rd players draft in and out so they move positions. Borini wont always be out on the wide.  

  24. Jamie - Re your responses to Kengkenny and Billyparkes - why is it OK for you to write critical articles but it's not OK for people to question or be critical of your views in return? Surely the purpose of your site is to stimulate debate.  

  25. How many times do I have to make this point? Attack the argument, not the person. People can be critical of my views as much as they like. Bitching about negative articles etc has nothing to do with the view I've put forward. The comment section is not for people to moan about the nature of the site's articles, it's for debate about football issues. If people think the articles here are too negative, go and moan about it on some other website.

    And what's wrong with my response to Keng Kinny? I'm not allowed to disagree with people now?!

  26. For the most part they were addressing the argument put forward.
    Re Borini, it's too early to judge given limited time he's had and injury problems. And besides we surely need at least 3 players who can occupy forward positions to cover for injury/suspension.
    One of the criticisms of the club before Jan was that we didn't have enough options. But one of the downsides in having options is that somebody will always miss out.

  27. Jamie i think your argument may be a little off the mark here. Firstly i don't think buying Sturridge means Rodgers has given a vote of no confidence in Borini. Have three strikers will bring about competition and bring out the best in in the players (sturridge in particular). secondly, strikers do go through barren spells and it will be nice to have an option on the bench when this happens to Sturridge or Suarez. I genuinely think Borini's time will come and when it does come, whether he takes it or not will determine whether he is a success or a failure 

  28. I agree with your points, and I hope you're right that Borini will come good, but how can he when he's played out wide? 14 appearances so far and only 63 minutes spent playing up-front. That says alot about how Rodgers is going to use Borini.

    It's good to have three strikers, but will Borini ever be preferred to Suarez up front? I doubt it. It seems clear that Rodgers has bought Borini to play out wide, and I can't see him being a success there, or being good enough to keep Sterling/Coutinho et al out of the team.

  29. agreed. buck needs to sort his transfer dealings out. all that money could have bought some 1st team regulars. he's continuing 'king' kennys transfer policy of buying players we dont want or need.

  30. we don't play with wingers .We play with a front 3. Good movement Borini possesses is key to this. Pointless article this as yet again a player is being judged based on a handful of appearances and coping coming in and out of the squad due to injury.

  31. Allen hasn't underperformed over gthe season only last couple of months. Fact Rodgers has also got the best out of signings that many forums and commentators had written off namely Henderson, Downing and Enrique. Give Borini time at least before judging him. Just because he's played left or right of a front three shouldn't stop him getting into scoring positions and his movement when he's played has proved this.

  32. Isn't it premature to say he can't compete with Coutinho. He hasn't even played for us yet. Sterling has gone off the boil too. Lets wait until the end of season or 25 appearances before we judge Borini.

  33. believe me, borini is not liverpool quality and forget all the movement he makes because that means nothing if he isnt contributing. he scored many goals for chelseas youth team and they still sold him. they saw that he wouldnt be able to cope with the premier league and sold him to roma. serie A is nowhere near the quality of the premier league and they literally have only 4 really competitive squads. borini has stated many times that he will score, or his burden will end but still hasnt scored. his confidence should not be effected as he scored on his debut, which means hes just not good enough.

    sahin is actually a good player but he must have only the best players around him to really show his ability. he has incredible passing and vision and with good players to recieve these passes his contribution will be seen with more effect. sahin is also very slow and cant really adapt to the fast pace and physicality of the premier league

    joe allen is utter ball shit. passing 5 yards everytime you get the ball doesnt make you a good player. you must contribute in every single way, assists, goals and tackles. tackling and interceptions earlier in the season he done well but he has made no chances let alone goals/assists and 15m was a complete rip off. hes clearly a swansea quality player and if swansea wernt promoted, i doubt he would ever enter a liverpool team. 5m is the most allen is worth, and i think rodgers will never again go for 'swansea type players' but rather players playing for good clubs like chelsea and inter milan

  34. Chelsea didnt sell Borini, His contract ran out and he left for italy for only training compensation.
    Also the reason he didnt get a chance at chelsea was people he didnt resign a contract they had offered him. So out to swansea he went.
    Also he signed for Parma not Roma.

  35. Hey Players like Lucas and hopefully Henderson and Downing are making a very good case for "give them a chance" these days. Hopefully he comes good

  36. anyways borini is ball shit nowhere near worth 12m. i would have prefered to put michael ngoo in the side instead of borini. a big 6ft6 striker with skills, good movement and decent pace. hes developing well and is has started really well at Hearts in the scottish league. way more worth a risk than borini. a guy that couldnt even score against HEARTS in the europa league even tho sterling laid it on a plait for him he still hit the post. borini is a bull shit swansea type player just like allen and i would have prefered to play conor coady or sama instead of allen which was a waste of 15m and play michael ngoo or even adam morgan instead of borini. that could have been 26m saved and i cant imagine it would be any different if these youth players were chosen instead of allen nd borini, they could possibly end up even better.

  37. Thank fuck this site isnt on lfclive.net anymore. The amount of 'give me strength, what the fuck is this narrow minded impatient halfwit on about now' frustrated thoughts I have been saved by that have made such a difference to my life. Thanks. All. Feed the fish. Get fed with maggots. Bye. xox. 

  38. i do agree that borini hasnt lit the world on fire but Morgan showed absolutely nothing when given his chance even though he's still a few years off and i think he's only played once off the top of my head. Ngoo has stumped me this whole time why he has not been given a go.
    when we were only down to suarez it couldnt have hurt playing him instead of shelvey.
    Allen was one of our best players when he first arrived and has since hit a terrible run of form which is disappointing and 15m looks steeper and steeper after every match.
    Also its looking more and more likely that allen doesnt have a clear position to compete for anymore either.

  39. Totally agree with you here. all three  upfront are strikers. Wingers are the overlapping backs. That's tic tac Rodgers style. 

  40. Baffling actually the signings made by Buck. Buy em and store em seems to be BR's policy. 
    But looking at it positively. The competition between players will only make them  work harder to prove themselves. Which is good for the club.
    We are out of 2 cup competitions. It would have been good for Borini if we were in these cups. Looks like he will be warming the bench from now on. He might get a run out in Europa league games though.