• Striker with one goal in nine games set to face Udinese
• Italian says: ‘I don’t fell the pressure. Goals will come’
The Italian journalists at Anfield wanted to know what Fabio Borini’s move to Liverpool said about the future of Serie A. What did it mean for Roma, the club he left behind, and his future with the Azzurri? All reasonable lines of inquiry from the striker’s native media, yet ones that sounded overly dramatic and out of context with a fledgling Liverpool career.
If there are reservations about Borini’s start at Liverpool they are not shared by the Italy striker or Brendan Rodgers, the manager who paid £10.5m to bring the 21-year-old to Merseyside. The forward has one goal in nine games for Liverpool and will seek to improve that return against Udinese in the Europa League on Thursday. Not that he feels under pressure to do so.
“It’s just a matter of time for me,” a relaxed Borini said. “The same thing happened last season. I scored one goal before October, then got injured for three months and after that I scored my second goal in January. From January until March I scored eight goals. I know from past experience that the goals will come. In Swansea I scored six goals from March until May. The goals do come.
“The position I have been playing at Liverpool has been different as well. It hasn’t been as the main striker. Luis Suárez is the centre-forward and he has scored five goals in six games. I know I have been bought to score goals but I don’t feel the pressure. I don’t need to rush my performances. I’m working hard every day in training and the goals will come.”
The emergence of Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom has made it easy to forget Borini is also in the early stages of a career that has had the disruption of playing for four different clubs – Swansea, Parma, Roma and now Liverpool – in the past 18 months. Rodgers worked with Borini at Chelsea and Swansea before spending roughly 40% of his allocated transfer budget on the striker this summer and admirably takes responsibility for the Italian’s adjustment period.
“Fabio probably hasn’t scored as many goals as he would have wanted to but, in fairness, I have been playing him in his No2 position,” Rodgers said. “He is better through the middle where you can see his qualities of moving off the shoulder and running in behind.
“My idea was to use him more for these type of competitions to begin with and that would allow him to grow into it. But, because of where we were at [with strikers], I have had to push him in that wee bit quicker. That is the reality. Over time, he will prove himself.
“Regardless of what anyone says, to come to a massive club at 21 years of age is a big ask. But I certainly wouldn’t have brought him here or paid the money if I didn’t think he could do it. Over time it will come. Once he gets one or two goals, the confidence will flow even more.”
Rodgers will again ring the changes for the Europa League but has the insurance of Suárez and Steven Gerrard in the squad at Anfield. Daniel Agger, who played in the rout of Norwich City on Saturday despite suffering a fracture to his knee cap against Manchester United, is likely to be among the senior players rested. The Dane is close to signing a contract extension.
Udinese have made a slow start in Serie A after suffering elimination from the final Champions League qualifying-round on penalties to Braga. But Borini cautioned: “They have good quality with the likes of [Antonio] Di Natale and play the formation that most teams in Italy play, a 3-5-2, but it’s not one that many Premier League teams are used to playing against. It will be a very good test for us to see how we cope against that system, and against the Italian mentality.”
Liverpool (4-3-2-1, probable): Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Coates, Robinson; Henderson, Allen, Shelvey; Downing, Assaidi; Borini.
Udinese (3-5-2, probable): Brkic; Danilo, Domizzi, Benatia; Faraoni, Pinzi, Fabbrini, Willians, Armero; Di Natale, Pereyra.
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