Brendan Rodgers expects Fabio Borini's season-long stay with Sunderland to not only benefit the player's development but ensure that Liverpool receive an improved asset when he returns.

The Italian forward completed a temporary loan switch to the Stadium of Light last September, with the Reds boss keen for his first signing to gain further experience of the Barclays Premier League.

He has thrived ever since, notching half-a-dozen goals for the Black Cats, including high-profile conversions against Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Borini is ineligible to feature in opposition to his parent club when Sunderland journey to Anfield on Wednesday night, but the 22-year-old was nevertheless under discussion at Rodgers' pre-match press conference.

"Fabio went out to get games, go on loan and play more regularly than he was playing here," the Northern Irishman explained to reporters gathered at Melwood.

"He has done that and showed with some of the goals he has scored - particularly against the big teams - the qualities that he has. The goal he scored in the Capital One Cup final was a fantastic goal.

"He has gone away to get experience of playing. Fabio will come back in the summer and he will be better for having played that season. And we'll review it from there."

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Reflecting on the original reasons for allowing the No.29 to spend a campaign away from Liverpool with the aim of benefiting along the line, Rodgers cited the move as 'important'.

The boss continued: "I just felt at the time that he needed to play. I felt it was important for him to go and get games, and get games regularly.

"He has played as a striker, played wide and played in pressure games, and he has done very well. As a young player, I felt it was important for him to do that. Hopefully, in the future, Liverpool will benefit from it."

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