Birthdate: 29 March 1991
Birthplace: Bentivoglio, Italy
Other clubs: Chelsea (2007-11), Swansea City (loan 2011), Parma (2011-12), AS Roma (2011-12), Sunderland (loan 2013-14)
Bought from: AS Roma
Signed for LFC: £10.4m, 13.07.2012
International debut: 29.02.2012 vs. United States
International caps: 1/0
Liverpool debut: 02.08.2012
Last appearance: 19.05.2013
Debut goal: 09.08.2012
Last goal: 27.04.2013
Win ratio: 45% W: 9 D: 4 L: 7
Games/goals ratio: 10
LFC league games/goals: 13 / 1
Total LFC games/goals: 20 / 2
When Borini signed a contract to join Liverpool in the middle of July 2012, the Reds became the third English club he had been on the books of even at the early age of 21. He was, however, a footballer already well known by the manager who signed him for Liverpool because Brendan Rogers had been Swansea’s manager when the Italian was loaned to the Welsh club by Chelsea for the closing weeks of the 2010/11 season. Liverpool’s new boss explained why he was so keen to complete this signing: “Fabio fits the model of what we're trying to do in building not only for now, but also for the future. He's a big talent, 21 years of age, he scores goals, and his passion, focus and concentration is a very important part of his game. I think the supporters will love him. He's a multi-functional player who can play in a number of positions and someone I believe has got great growth. He is arguably the best physical player I've worked with in terms of his pace, power and fitness. Mentally, he's very strong.”
After scoring ten goals in eleven matches for Chelsea reserves in the 2008/09 season he played in eight first-team games for the West London team. Although Borini performed well under Rogers at Swansea with six goals in nine Championship matches and was a member of the team that secured City’s place in the Premier League, he issued a statement saying that he would not be returning to Chelsea after his loan-period with Swansea as he had reached an agreement to sign for Parma. But less than two months after signing for Parma, he moved on to Roma, initially on loan but with the club from the capital having an option to make the deal permanent later. Borini was not given much of a chance in the first half of the season at Roma but once he got going there was no stopping him, his best run being ten goals in 14 matches from 26 October 2011 to 10 March 2012. The loan was upgraded to a co-ownership deal and in the summer of 2012 Roma outbid Parma in a blind auction parting with £4.3 million to secure the other 50% of his registration.
Borini seems to have been well liked by colleagues who appreciated his technical ability as well as quickly realising that he was not a selfish player but someone who would fight for the cause of the team he was representing. Away from the pitch though, there seems to be a perception that his goody two-shoes demeanour may be doing him no favours. Asked about Roma coach Luis Enrique’s decision to drop Daniele De Rossi for a game following the midfielder’s late arrival for a team meeting, Borini noted that the same could never happen to him because “I always arrive for meetings 20 minutes early." His subsequent no-show for a team dinner (he said he could not break a previously-arranged commitment) was interpreted in some quarters as further evidence of his ‘outsider’ status.
Like many strikers Fabio Borini has his own special way of celebrating a goal he has scored. His trademark of drawing his hand across his mouth to signify a dagger between his teeth comes from an Italian saying. The man himself explains: “When you want to achieve something so badly that you are angry to achieve your goals, you put the knife between your teeth. That’s what I was trying to do by putting the side of my hand in my mouth.” Borini was in Italy’s 23-man Euro 2012 squad but was one of only two outfield players not to see any action. After a short break following the end of the championships, he was able to join up with his new teammates on Liverpool’s North American tour. He can play on either the left and right flank as well as up front and will deliver steely determination to Liverpool's cause serving as a direct replacement for Dirk Kuyt who departed to Turkey. Liverpool supporters saw his ‘dagger celebration’ as early as in his home debut, against Gomel in the Europa League, but Borini's hopes were dashed when he broke a bone in his foot and was sidelined until January 2013. "It was extremely frustrating because in the last three years I have got injured for three months every year in October. I haven't played a full season yet because of those injuries, but I hope they'll stop. It's just been bad luck and nothing about me. They've been different injuries each time."
It is hard to assess Borini's first season as a Liverpool player because he missed so much of it because of injury. Almost as soon as he had recovered from the broken foot he received against Manchester United in September, he was further sidelined by a dislocated shoulder against Swansea in February that was expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season. He recovered from that in time to play at Newcastle on the last weekend of April and his reaction on scoring his first Premier League goal on that day, his team's fifth in a 6-0 rout, showed that criticism of some of his earlier performances was perhaps unfair. He scored on his home debut against Gomel in August but, the goal at Newcastle apart, it is sad that he never really got the chance ... and was never really fit enough ... to show what he could do.
Considered surplus to requirements at Liverpool during the summer of 2013, Borini was sent on a season-long loan to Sunderland where, perhaps surprisingly, he became a real crowd-favourite, so much so that he was given the club's "Young Player of the Year" award. He endeared himself to his new fan-base by scoring the winning goal in the Tyne-Wear derby against Newcastle United at the end of October. He added six more Premier League goals by the end of the season, including the goal that ended Jose Mourinho's long unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge in the league. Borini was also prominent in the League Cup, scoring against Chelsea in the 5th round and against Manchester United in the first leg of the semi-final at the Stadium of Light. He also opened the scoring in the Wembley final against Manchester City but City recovered to win the trophy by three goals to one. Once seven points adrift of safety, Sunderland recovered to retain their Premier League status and Borini certainly played a big part in that.