Rickie Lambert: Liverpool's new Craig Bellamy?

Craig Bellamy for Cardiff

Rickie Lambert's move to Liverpool could be inspired by a man Brendan Rodgers never got to work with.

Liverpool have endured a mixed bag when it comes to signing veterans in recent years.

Few can forget the excitement that greeted Joe Cole's move to Anfield - and the mediocre but not quite terrible seasons that followed. But, on the other hand, many can proudly cast their minds back to the relatively successful returns of Robbie Fowler and Craig Bellamy.

And judging by Brendan Rodgers' eagerness to bring Rickie Lambert on board, it appears the Reds boss is eager to use the latter as a template.

Specifically, it looks as though Rodgers could be looking at Lambert to provide the same sort of passion to Anfield that Welshman Bellamy did under former coach Kenny Dalglish.

After all, in March of this year, the Northern Irishman spoke of his regret at never working with the veteran striker.

"It's one of my only regrets, really, that I never got the chance to work with Craig," Rodgers said.

"I've followed him in his career right the way through; an outstanding player, very honest, speaks his mind but is an ultimate professional."

The 41-year-old may be looking to put that right this summer, however, as Lambert's introduction at Liverpool may just be reminiscent of Bellamy at his bullish best.

  AppsGoalsAssistsMins
Andy Carroll 35 4 2 2,065
Luis Suárez 31 11 3 2,556
Craig Bellamy 27 6 3 1,241

Looking at the Welshman's final season under Dalglish before his move to Cardiff City, Opta stats show that Bellamy was not a 90-minute player. In the Premier League, he made 27 appearances but clocked up less than half as many minutes as main striker Luis Suarez.

Bellamy still managed as many assists as the Uruguayan, though, also scoring more than half the amount of goals. Added to that, the Welshman was an important asset in Liverpool's cup runs that term, when the Reds won the Carling Cup and reached the FA Cup final.

What do these figures and Rodgers' previously expressed admiration for Bellamy tell us?

Well, at 32 years of age, Southampton striker Lambert is unlikely to play as many minutes as Suarez and Daniel Sturridge this season - that much is clear. From the bench, however, target man Lambert could prove a crucial asset in Liverpool's quest for success both at home and abroad.

Just as Bellamy was a different option to Carroll and Suarez - a bulldog of a player who worked his socks off in pursuit of the ball and created chances with pace and vision - Lambert will provide a different option up top for Rodgers.

At the same time, the 32-year-old can lend a guiding hand to the younger players and act as a positive influence in the dressing room, while his utility at set-pieces will likely prove a vital addition on Merseyside.

In that way, Liverpool boss Rodgers will not have to express any further regret about missing the Bellamy train, as the Northern Irishman will be creating a new Bellamy-figure of his own making.

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