sport

Sturridge arrival is fab for Borini

Liverpool forward Fabio Borini is relishing the additional competition the arrival of Daniel Sturridge has brought.

The Italian has only just returned from a three-month absence with a broken foot which could not have come at a worse time for him.

Having joined from Roma for 10million in the summer the 21-year-old was just starting to find his feet with his new team when the injury put him back to square one.

By the time he had recovered manager Brendan Rodgers had signed Sturridge for 12million and the striker has responded with three goals in as many games.

Seeing Sturridge ahead of him is a familiar sight for Borini as the 23-year-old edged in front of him in terms of first-team recognition when the pair were at Chelsea together.

Now they are back on the same side again the Italian, who has made two substitute appearances since his return to fitness, is ready to battle for his chance.

"Competition in positions is good because everyone is fighting for their place," said Borini.

"Daniel and I were together in the reserves, going backwards and forward from the first team, as we were the same position.

"Then I had a problem with my contract and I was back with the reserves.

"There was some rivalry for the position, like every team has, but we are good friends too.

"You have to fight for your place all the time, even in life.

"It is a big chance for us (him and Sturridge) because we always waited for this chance to be part of a big project at a big club.

"We both know Brendan and the way he thinks and works so that is helping us but we have to do our job as well."

Borini's quality has been prematurely questioned by critics in the first few months of his Liverpool career but the player is able to rise above it.

He may be on his fourth professional club - the other being Swansea where he spent two months on loan under Rodgers in their promotion-winning season - but that has not dented his self-belief.

The support of personal mental coach Roberto Civitarese has helped Borini, an intelligent young man with a deep interest in interior design, through most of his career lows over the last five years.

And it was he to whom he turned after his latest setback having briefly spoken to Dr Steve Peters, the sports psychologist brought in by Rodgers after his successful work with many of Great Britain's Olympians.

"I think it is a thing that, in modern football, can be really helpful," Borini said.

"I really appreciate talking to psychologists and I will talk to them again.

"I opted for it to make something change in what I was doing: I was at Chelsea at the time and I worked with him for almost one year to get the mentality right.

"After getting all the mental things right I got my debut in the Premier League.

"On the pitch I've had really good results from what I did and it is a special thanks to him because he really helped me in a difficult moment.

"It has really helped me because I could see the results. You can control yourself better under pressure when you have big games coming up or a bad situation like an injury and you deal with problems better.

"I stopped (consulting Civitarese) for one year because I chose to see if I could do it on my own but after my (latest) injury I decided I needed to work with him again."

Borini is in line for his first start since October 4 in Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at League One Oldham.

He admits his spell on the sidelines was tough and he chose to return to his homeland to do much of his rehabilitation in order to be more comfortable.

"It has been difficult because I got an injury when I wanted to be fit," he added.

"It was a complicated injury on my foot, it was very delicate and it wasn't easy to get back as soon as possible.

"I chose to go back to Italy to do some of my rehab there because mentally it was easier as I was close to home and I could see my family more.

"Also not seeing my team-mates playing outside every day made me a little bit more confident when I got back because it is very difficult watching my team playing every week and not being involved.

"Now I am back and feel good and fit, thanks to the staff here at Liverpool."