BRENDAN RODGERS believes striker Fabio Borini will flourish at Liverpool between now and May, after proving his injury problems are behind him.
The 21-year-old Italian is set to make his first start since October in tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Oldham Athletic.
Borini spent three months on the sidelines with a broken foot but after substitute appearances against Manchester United and Norwich City he’s ready to play a starring role.
“Fabio has had a couple of weeks really good training and he looks strong and fit,” Rodgers said.
“This could be a good game for him to start. Fabio is a young player who over time will get better and better.
“He will learn from playing with a top striker like Luis Suarez. Fabio is flexible and can play in a couple of positions.
“The more threat we have and the more goal scorers we have the better it is for the group.”
Borini’s return to fitness has coincided with the signing of £12m frontman Daniel Sturridge, from Chelsea.
The instant rapport Sturridge has established with Luis Suarez suggests that Borini faces a real battle to hold down a place, but Rodgers says there will be matches when all three strikers start in his favoured 4-3-3 formation.
“There’s no question they could all play together,” Rodgers added.
“They have all played in all three of the striking roles. That’s the type of profile we want here – players who are flexible and have intelligence.”
That is unlikely to happen tomorrow as the Reds boss plans to make a number of changes. but both Suarez and Sturridge will be in the squad.
Sturridge is looking to become the first player in Liverpool’s history to score in his first four appearances for the club and Rodgers says his impact has given everyone in the squad a boost.
“It’s been a terrific start for Daniel,” he said.
“He has got great presence and has given the team confidence. Good players want to play with good players.
“You know when you’ve got goal scorers in the group, you’ve always got a chance to win games.
“I read a lot about Daniel and Luis forming a partnership against Norwich last weekend. We have played exactly the same system before but what good players do is they make that system richer. They did that by combining very well.
“Daniel’s goal summed up why we brought him in. He’s a box player and a goal scorer.
“Luis and Daniel find space that you can’t mark – that’s the mark of top players.”
Pepe Reina (thigh) won’t be risked tomorrow, so Brad Jones will start in goal. However, the Spaniard is expected to return for the Premier League trip to Arsenal on Wednesday night.
Jose Enrique could also feature at the Emirates after recovering ahead of schedule from a hamstring injury. The left-back was expected to be out for six weeks after pulling up lame in last month’s victory over QPR.
Rodgers said: “This weekend will come too soon for him, but Jose has worked really well with his recuperation and could be available for the Arsenal game.
“It’s a great credit to him. He’s a terrific professional.”
Rodgers’ only fresh injury concern ahead of tomorrow’s game is Glen Johnson, who complained of some stiffness in his hamstring during training yesterday.
“It’s nothing serious, but something we will assess over the next 24 hours,” he added.