Liverpool FC: Examining the Impact of Losing Fabio Borini for the Season
The Italian youngster landed on his shoulder and was stretchered off. He left the Reds playing with 10 men for the final few minutes of the game. This, however, did not impact the scoreline let alone the result in any way.
Liverpool already have quite a lean squad, one that is rather short of strikers. In such a case, the injury to Borini at this crucial stage in the season does not bode well for Brendan Rodgers’ first season in charge of the Reds.
Let us, then, examine the impact of losing Borini for this season from various angles in the following slides.
The First Team
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With all due respect, Fabio Borini does not add anything to the first or best XI. At the moment, he is a squad player at best.
We must not forget that he is still young and can prove to be a valuable player in years to come.
But for the moment, Liverpool Football Club will not be sorely missing Borini’s services. After all, he did not play much part earlier in the season either, due to another injury.
The fans do not really know what they might have missed either, as the player has not settled or performed in the few games he has appeared in.
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Liverpool may have a lean squad, but the fact that the Reds are out of all competitions says that depth may not be something that will hamper their season.
Here also, Borini will not be missed. If Daniel Sturridge or Luis Suarez do get injured, Jonjo Shelvey or Philippe Coutinho may play instead. I do not see that as a serious amount of trade-off with what Borini could provide, even on his expected best form, if he wasn't out injured.
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Here is where the major problem lies.
For the player, it is a whole season lost without much development. It is almost like he will start from square one next season with respect to his time at Liverpool.
Adding to this is the extra burden of adapting to a new team, system and league. Next year will technically be his second season with Liverpool, and there will be more expectations from him to perform. I sympathize with a player in such a situation, and this is where injuries and luck really can play such a vital role in dividing potential from greatness.
For the team and manager, it becomes a catch-22. You want to give the player minutes so that he jells with the side and other players quickly after his rehabilitation. At the same time you do not want to compromise on results.
It is almost as if Liverpool have paid a transfer fee and a year’s wages in advance for a "deferred" transfer.
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In the transfer market, it is a big loss for Liverpool. Not only have the Reds paid a transfer fee and a year’s wages, they have no chance of expecting the player’s price to go up while he is injured and not playing.
What is more, this is not the first season that Borini has missed a good portion of. In such a case, the player may fast attract the tag of an “injury prone” player, getting the number of future potential suitors to dwindle already.
So, in case Rodgers wants to have an option of selling Borini in the summer, he will have his work cut out. He will have to compromise either way. In summary, this has all the makings of another Joe Cole saga. I do hope not.
Incentive for Youth
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Trying to look more on the positive side, this may be an incentive for youngsters such as Adam Morgan to really stake a claim for a place in the first XI.
In case Liverpool are winning well or there is not a lot left to play for at the end of the season, strikers like Morgan may get a chance.
And you never know, a couple of good performances may change the mind of the manager in case he was planning on looking for another striker, even if he chooses to dispense with the services of Borini.
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There is no doubt that Borini has potential, and we should currently welcome his services for cup games and substitute appearances. But when you pay what Liverpool did for the Italian, that limited amount of service is certain to land you in the "flops" category.
It will almost be like signing a new player next season akin to Lucas Leiva's recent scenario, albeit with reservations. Lucas was badly missed; Borini has not been.
Borini has great movement but has to do more to earn respect and a place in the Liverpool starting lineup. He needs to ensure that he can chart a growth curve just as Lucas did.
He is not handling the physicality of the league that well at the moment in my opinion, and he needs to improve on his first touch and finishing too.