A week ago, I laughed at my Gunner friend telling him how none of his beloved players wanted to play for the club. Season after season, an Arsenal fan hears what he or she most dreads – their present fan-favorite switching docks to a ‘more ambitious’ club. With Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Mathieu Flamini, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Alex Hleb, and soon to join that “elite” club of Arsenal departures, Robin Van Persie, my point across to my buddy was clear.
While I yapped for more than ten minutes, my friend’s only retort took me aback. He asked what currently every other rival club’s fan questions about Liverpool, “Do you honestly believe ‘loserpool’ will ever finish in the top 4, again?”
Liverpool’s eminence in the Champions League was guaranteed until Benitez’s penultimate season. His mishandling of Liverpool’s biggest stars (excluding Carragher and Gerrard) cost us. Alonso left seeking revenge at Benitez, who wanted to ship him out the season before. Mascherano departed to Barcelona while Benayoun, Riera and Risse fell out with Benitez’s rotation policy. Once a force to contend with, the Reds were now broken into shambles.
Stevan Jovetic, a Montenegrin born playing for Fiorentina, scored what I believe are the two most agonizing goals I have watched in my entire Liverpool life. Most commentators at that time felt his brace at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in 2009 sent Liverpool momentarily packing out of the Champions League, thereby expecting the club to bounce back next season. Well why wouldn’t they? Aren’t we Liverpool Football Club – one of Europe’s finest? Not many realized then that it spelled an end to an era of dominance by this Merseyside club.
On July 13, 2012, Liverpool purchased Fabio Borini, a decently rated Italian prospect. To be honest, I haven’t watched him play as much. At Chelsea, he hardly featured and when he was a poignant player under Rodgers at Swansea, nobody considered that the Welsh club will step foot into the Premier League. Last season, I got a glimpse of him in Roma colors when he scored against Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia. His ball-control during the game was sublime, but what mattered to me most was his commitment during the game. Borini came back to help in defense, snuck in the tackles and ran back to set up opportunities for Lamela and Bojan. At Liverpool, that is precisely what we need – utmost commitment.
Fernando Torres, once the Kop’s most worshipped son, ceases to exist in our dictionary anymore. His transfer to Chelsea didn’t surprise me, but his manner of departure did. For months, El Nino kept the fans on the hook, promising to never betray the faithful. Unfortunately, he did. Just like Javier Mascherano. Now, I would mention Xabi Alonso here but Benitez instigated his exodus, rather unnecessarily. A year before Alonso produced his best season for the famed Liverbird, Benitez adamantly requested his transfer as he desperately wanted to fund a move for Aston Villa’s captain, Gareth Barry. Not only did he fail to sign Barry, he sparked Liverpool’s demise in the Premier League. Alonso’s escapade to Real Madrid meant it was chaos at Anfield. Players felt the club wasn’t ambitious ‘enough’ in keeping its stars.
To demonstrate this, Fernando Torres spoke acrimoniously about Liverpool following his move to Chelsea. In his interview with the Daily Mail, Torres expressed, “I have nothing against Liverpool fans. I didn’t want to leave Liverpool the way I did but the club lied. I was let down and I don’t understand why the fans hate me.”
Today, Fabio Borini has an opportunity to shine at the L4. The last time we, the fans, were this excited about a transfer was when Fernando Torres arrived. At least I was. Fabio is not only important in the form of forging a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, but to ease the pressure off Steven Gerrard. What was your transfer fee, Fabio – 10 million? In today’s football world, that is a meager amount. Don’t get me wrong there. I am not stopping you from being becoming an icon in Liverpool folklore but all I particularly mean is that the pressure on you is lesser than it was on Luis, Fernando, Andy or even the forgotten Italian, Alberto Aqualani. We haven’t bought you to replace anyone like we brought in Aqua to fit in the shoes left by Alonso or those of Fernando which Luis filled in effortlessly. We want you to be our only Fabio Borini; we want you to create a name for yourself in our history books.
My only request to you, Fabio, is that you do not betray us when success comes your way. If you do win the Golden Boot or get a call from Cesare Prandelli to start for Italy, don’t let your head get to you. Clubs with stronger banks will chase you, illicitly dragging you away from our hearts. Remember what happened to Michael Owen after he left us for Spanish shores? Sincerity pays dividends, Fabio.
Our hearts will beat for you. Through you, we want to win that elusive 19th Premier League Title and play amongst the best in Europe. For every goal you score, we would cheer you to score another. Each time the ball touches your graceful feet, our chants would burst your eardrums. That is what Liverpool Football Club is – a close family. Ask Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, John Barnes, Robbie Fowler and Jamie Redknapp, and they’d tell you what Kopites would do for you. Why do you think we won at Istanbul? Why do you think Steven Gerrard scored a screamer in the dying minutes of the Olympiakos game or say, the West Ham final? Because, dear sir, we never give up at this club. 23 years seems a long time ago, isn’t it?
Fabio, all I ask is remain patient till we win. It may not happen immediately, but it certainly will. Our club is undergoing a downfall which your friend, Brendan Rodgers will help change. Stay with us till we lift that magnificent piece designed by the Royal Jewellers of Asprey of London.
Fabio Borini, this is my humble request to you.