Rickie Lambert’s return to Liverpool in the summer transfer window was a story that hit the headlines for the right reasons.
This was a man who was returning to the club where he had taken his first footsteps in football. He was released by the Merseyside outfit when he was 15, but after much hard work and playing in lower divisions, he was finally taken back by the Premier League outfit.
Liverpool paid Southampton a transfer fee of £4 million in the summer to sign Lambert, who at 32 must be delighted to be playing for the club he had always wanted to.
However, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers should not have signed the England international, believes former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton.
‘But I was very surprised by Brendan Rodgers' recruitment, going into a Champions League season’, the 32-year-old Queens Park Rangers star told BBC Sport. ‘Why did they sign Rickie Lambert?
‘No disrespect to Rickie, he's a good player, but as a fan if you'd been told you were going to sell Luis Suarez and get Mario Balotelli and Lambert instead, you wouldn't be very happy. It will be difficult for Liverpool to finish top four this season’.
Barton has a point about Lambert. It is very easy to judge a player on the basis of one good season, and that is what Liverpool did with the striker.
Until the 2013-14 season, Lambert was hardly someone who would have been on the radar of top clubs, and at 32 his best days are behind him.
However, Lambert was not signed to replace Luis Suarez; he was recruited to add depth to the Liverpool team. Which is exactly what he did on Saturday.
With Daniel Sturridge out injured and Mario Balotelli misfiring, it was Lambert who started the Reds’ Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.
|Position||Team||Goals||Total Shots||Shots on Target||Big Chance Missed||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Appearances||Mins Played|
As the stats above show, Lambert did not have a particularly great match which ended in a 2-1 win for the hosts, but he gave Rodgers an option. And that is what he is going to be for the rest of the season: an option.