Fabio Borini: How Liverpool's New Signing Will Fit into Brendan Rodgers' Tactics
A manager's first signing is always heavily scrutinised by fans and pundits, and Borini is no different—especially considering the nature of the acquisition.
Anfield will witness a footballing revolution this year under a fresh young coach with modern ideas. Rodgers is the man who masterminded Swansea City to promotion, followed by an unthinkable 11th-place finish in the English Premier League last season.
Liverpool will now become the benefactors of his abilities and theories, and it was clear from the start an upheaval of personnel was looming.
Rodgers plays a particular brand of football and you can either hack it or you can't. How does Borini fit into Rodgers' system then?
Possession football is what Rodgers encourages, and statistics courtesy of WhoScored? back that up.
Under his charge last season, Swansea averaged 497 short passes per game with an 85 percent success rate. They averaged 57.6 percent possession in 38 games—third across the English Premier League and just two percent behind Arsene Wenger's ball-hungry hippos from North London.
Swansea remained patient in their buildup and looked to control games. So dominant they were on the ball that they went to grounds such as Villa Park and simply played the home team off the pitch.
Nathan Dyer vs. Borini in possession
AS Roma coach Luis Enrique is also a believer in possession-based football, having been ingrained in the Barcelona ways himself. Both managers encouraged similar styles last season, so comparisons can be made between the two teams' peripherals.
Dyer lined up on the right wing of Rodgers' 4-3-3 for Swansea, while Borini was consistently played as a wide forward in Enrique's team.
The statistics suggest Borini has some improving to do. It was common for the Italian to give the ball away needlessly last season, resulting in him having the worst pass completion rate of any outfield Roma player.
His measly 75.7 percent completion rate off 474 passes is far from impressive, and Dyer's 84.4 percent completion rate from 1,030 is much more commendable.
Keeping the ball is key for Rodgers, so his new acquisition will surely be put through his paces with regard to accuracy.
Dyer vs. Borini in shots
What Borini lacks in passing skills, he makes up for with genuine goal threat. He's a natural striker and it shows, since most of his nine league goals last season were poachers' finishes.
Nine goals from 48 shots gives him an excellent strike rate of 5.3 shots per goal, while Dyer's ratio of 8.8 hammers home the fact he's a winger, not a forward.
Liverpool struggled for goals last season and will need to draw upon every resource possible to improve for the season ahead. Adding a genuine forward-thinking player like Borini goes a long way to helping.
Borini is a good fit for Liverpool as long as his passing improves. He thrives in the formation Rodgers employs and will grab goals from the wide position.
He would also fill in well in the striker's position should, for example, Luis Suarez miss a game, so his productivity can be utilised in three different positions across the pitch.
As an expensive acquisition, it's important he irons out his passing game in time for season's start. If he does, he'll be a great fit in a much-changed Liverpool side.
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