Sunderland’s derby day match-winner Fabio Borini insists he has not given up on his Liverpool career.
The on-loan Italian striker came off the bench to score the decisive goal in Sunday’s 2-1 success over bitter rivals Newcastle - his first strike for the Black Cats.
That matches his Barclays Premier League tally for the Reds, where he spent an injury-disrupted first season having arrived in a £10million deal from Roma.
The arrival - and fine form - of Daniel Sturridge in January pushed Borini further down the Anfield pecking order and although he was allowed to leave for the season, the 22-year-old is clear about where he sees his future.
“There has been a squad revolution there but the worst thing for me was getting injured when I was actually playing at the start of last season,” he told Rete Sport.
“I remain a Liverpool player, I’m on loan because there wasn’t space for me and after a year of injuries I needed to get my confidence back, to play some games.
“But my roots are still there.”
His immediate focus is with Sunderland, though, and victory over the Magpies lifted them off the bottom of the table with a first win of the campaign.
“It was definitely important, not so much just for me but for the whole team,” he said.
“It came at a difficult time and to get out of that slump is very important. It feels fantastic.”
Gus Poyet made the brave decision to leave Borini’s compatriot Emanuele Giaccherini on the bench at the Stadium of Light.
Giaccherini arrived from Juventus in the summer with a big reputation but Poyet looked elsewhere for the Tyne-Wear derby line-up and Borini suspects there was a clear plan at work.
“I don’t know why Giaccherini was benched and I don’t know if he’s spoken with the boss about it,” he said.
“We were all saying that it was an English line-up, and perhaps an English line-up might be more motivated for a derby.”