Fabio Borini would have been the only Liverpool player to have ended Saturday’s loss to West Ham with even the slightest feeling of satisfaction, with this encounter having represented the Italian’s first start for the club in over 18 months.
Borini had appeared set to leave the club just a couple of weeks ago but started alongside compatriot Mario Balotelli at Upton Park as Liverpool were defeated 3-1 having failed to recover from two goals conceded in the opening seven minutes.
It was been quite a turnaround in fortunes for Borini, who spent the entirety of last season on loan with Sunderland, and was wanted by the Black Cats in a permanent deal having impressed at the Stadium of Light.
But while Liverpool were willing to sanction the transfer after Sunderland had agreed a £14 million deal for Borini, the player himself made the decision to resist temptation in order to break into Brendan Rodgers’ team. It was a choice that has paid dividends so far.
The 23-year-old made his first appearance back in Liverpool colours during the defeat to Aston Villa at Anfield, while he made a key contribution in ensuring the club were able to claim victory in their first Champions League outing for five years.
His comeback was complete at West Ham and, although the evening did not end as he would have ideally liked, Borini believes his return to the fold represents something of an achievement.
"I'm very pleased for this achievement, so soon after the rumours, which never affected me," Borini said.
"I'll keep working hard. Obviously [West Ham] was the first game, but I'm quite happy with how I've done and I'll keep working from this."
Chance to shine
Borini was the first acquisition of the Rodgers era at Liverpool, arriving from Roma having worked with the manager at both Chelsea and Swansea, but an injury sustained early in that season proved an even more significant setback than had been expected.
The attacker had made only six Premier League appearances before he broke his foot on international duty and, by the time he was fully fit once again, Liverpool had recruited a more prolific replacement in Daniel Sturridge.
But the tables have now turned somewhat with the England striker the player now out through injury, and it is down to Borini to establish his position in the side having been afforded an unexpected second chance.