The more I look at it, the more I like the move by Liverpool to acquire striker Rickie Lambert from Southampton.
“I’ve seen Rickie Lambert over the years and he’s one of those players that probably never got the recognition for what a really good footballer he is,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports News. “It’s only late on in his career … that people are really starting to focus on his qualities. He was probably seen as the traditional big number nine, a British striker that is good in the air. But he’s one of the most accomplished footballers I’ve seen.”
A one time member of Liverpool’s youth team, Lambert is looking forward to returning to play for the club he dreamt about as a child.
“I have always dreamt of playing for Liverpool, but I did kind of think the chance of playing for them had gone. I didn’t think the chance would come. It was a shock when I heard Liverpool were in for me,” Lambert said on the club’s website. “I know how big Liverpool are – and it means everything to me – but I know what is important; I know it’s what I do on the pitch and the minutes I play. I know that’s what matters, and that’s what I’ll be focused on.”
Here are five things to like about the signing:
1) Lambert knows how to score. At Southampton, he was the club’s top scorer every year since joining the team in 2009. All told, he scored 117 goals in 235 appearances for Southampton, and scored or assisted on 23 of their 54 league goals this past season, making him the fourth-highest scoring English player in the Premier League.
2) He knows what it takes to help push a team to the next level. When he joined Southampton, the club was in League One and he helped lead them all the way to the Premier League.
3) He provides depth, which is important as Liverpool will make its return to Champions League play next season. A big part of their success this past season was the fact that Rodgers could put all his focus onto the next league game without having to worry about how his decision would impact European games. Having Lambert on board gives Rodgers more options and, hopefully, doesn’t result in a drop off in goals if the club sits Luis Suárez or Daniel Sturridge.
4) At a cost of just £4.5 million plus add-ons, Lambert doesn’t break the bank.
5) He brings experience to the club. Lambert will spend the summer in Brazil with the England national team – one of six current Liverpool players on the national team – giving him an opportunity to get comfortable with a large number of his new club teammates.
“I think I am prepared mentally now for almost anything,” Lambert told The Guardian. “I’ve had a long career, I’ve experienced a lot – a lot of ups and downs – and I believe I am at a time in my life now where anything that happens, I can enjoy, get the most out of it and adapt to it.
“[Brendan] knows what the club means to me. I think he sees what he can benefit from by signing me and he knows I’ll be trying my best every minute I play for this club. I’m not sure what role he has for me – he hasn’t gone into great detail right now – but I will be speaking to him very shortly.”
Lambert may not be the type of headline-grabbing signing that pushes Liverpool over the top, but he should turn into the kind of quiet transaction that helps the club keep pace with the other top Premier League teams.