Former Liverpool defender Neil Ruddock has claimed that Rickie Lambert’s ‘legs have gone’ and doesn’t believe the side’s new striker will be able to contribute much to the team going forward.
Lambert had a stellar top-flight debut with Southampton last season, scoring 13 goals in 37 appearances to earn a place on England’s World Cup squad and a £4 million move to the club who released him at age 15.
However, Ruddock believes that, at 32, the Merseyside-native is already well past his best, urging Brendan Rodgers to delve back into the transfer market to find goals.
"His legs have gone. I think he might be a bit past it. I just can’t see him starting many games," he told Sky Sports News Radio.
"You’ve got Sterling coming up now so he’s got to step up to the plate, as we relied so much on [Luis] Suarez and [Daniel] Sturridge last season. I know what Brendan Rodgers has been doing is buying seasoned players but we still need others to fill the gap left by Suarez."
Rising up from the fourth-tier of English football to emerge as a seven-time capped international, Lambert became Rodgers’ first signing this summer, with Southampton pair Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren also arriving at Anfield, as well as Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi and Javi Manquillo.
Looking to replace Suarez’s 31-goal impact of 2013-14, following his £75 million departure to Barcelona, Liverpool have spent around £90 million thus far but, with Divock Origi returning to Lille on loan, the former Saints marksman is the sole goalscorer brought in at this point.
With an £8.5 million move for Loic Remy collapsing due to a failed medical, the club have recently been linked to the likes of Wilfried Bony, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Mario Balotelli, although Rodgers has himself ruled out a move for the latter.
Nevertheless, whether Lambert can deliver or not, with just him, Sturridge and the potentially departing Fabio Borini to call on up front at present, another striker seems desperately needed if the Reds are to improve upon last season's second-place Premier League finish.