When news broke of Fabio Borini’s broken foot last week, most Liverpool fans were surprisingly accepting of the situation. There was almost an air of inevitability about it.
Following the deadline day debacle, and the fact Liverpool were entering a Premier League season with just two senior strikers available to Brendan Rodgers, it seemed almost typically inevitable and cruel that one was going to suffer a bad injury.
It’s been in keeping with the fortunes and bad luck Liverpool have endured for the past 18 months, although without meaning to be cruel to Borini, the one saving grace was that at least it wasn’t Luis Suarez (touch wood).
On the day Borini suffered his injury, I had written how the influx of young talent at Anfield had gone some way to masking Liverpool’s lack of strikers. A couple of hours later Borini broke his foot. I am just praying following the publication of this article there is no announcement regarding the health of Luis Suarez.
Liverpool do look horribly short up top now, but one thing they must not do is attempt to rush the young Italian back too quick. It has been something we have seen at Anfield in the past, and it has come back to haunt the club and the players involved later on down the line.
Gerard Houllier attempted to rush back Michael Owen from a bad hamstring injury he picked up at Leeds in 1998. Liverpool were suffering from a lack of strikers back then aswell, and the French coach was desperate for his main goal scorer to return to the fold. Owen’s lack of a full recovery programme saw him break down with the same problem time and again. How much of an effect that has had on his career will never be fully known, although I am willing to bet it’s a pretty large chunk.
Rafael Benitez endured the same predicament on a couple of occasions during his time in the Anfield hot seat. His attempt to rush back Czech forward Milan Baros during the 2004-2005 season backfired. Djibril Cisse was out for the for seeable future with a horrific leg break, so Baros remained the one available senior striker.
Benitez was desperate to get Baros back in time for the famous Champions League game with Olympiakos (‘what a hit son’, and all that.) Having been rushed back for the game, Baros limped out after 70-odd minutes and spent the rest of season playing through the pain barrier. He was in and out of the side as Liverpool regretted not allowing him a full recovery programme.
Fernando Torres was exactly the same. Having been rushed back from a hamstring injury picked up on international duty, the Spaniard continued to break down, and one could argue has not looked the same player since.
Is this just a Liverpool thing though? Those three examples does beg the question as to why the Reds always seem to be so short of strikers, and does make you bemoan their wretched luck.
But when big players suffer injuries, is there too much pressure to get them back quickly rather than wait that bit longer to ensure their recovery is complete?
Wayne Rooney was afforded the full recovery time for the nasty injury he picked up earlier in the season and has been bedded back into the Manchester United team slowly. That is understandable as United have the likes of Robin Van Persie, Danny Welback and Javier Hernandez available as cover. It all depends on your squad size and the resources available to you. And Liverpool are extremely short at the moment.
Liverpool’s medical staff will be under big pressure to get Fabio Borini back in the fold sooner rather than later, due to the somewhat ridiculous lack of resources available to Brendan Rodgers. Whilst this is not a muscle injury that would be more complicated, it is still crucial Borini is allowed to complete the full recovery programme in order to avoid problems further down the line.
In the mean time, youngsters the like of Adam Morgan, Dani Pacheco and Samed Yesil will have to step forward. It is not ideal, but what other choice does Rodgers have?
It is crucial he does not bow to the pressure of bringing Borini back too quickly, for the player and the teams long term benefit. Liverpool have seen it happen too many times before, and you just hope the lessons have been learnt.
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