When Rickie Lambert, 32, scored on his debut for England earlier this year he must of thought things couldn't get much better. Since then he has been called up to the World Cup squad and will travel to Brazil where he hopes to feature for England. That has now been followed up with a 'dream move' to his home town club and the team he has supported since being a boy Liverpool.
It was only six months ago that Ricky Lambert was just a half decent striker for a mid-table side and now he will be playing at a World Cup and in the Champions League. The world of football can change lives very quickly.
Aside from the romance of the story, whereby he reported when he told his mum she shed a tear, there is a football decision here which could prove a master stroke by Brendan Rogers.
Goals were not exactly a problem for Liverpool last year and it wasn't why they just missed out on the title and yet by adding Lambert he gets a key piece to the puzzle for next season. Suarez and Sturridge are both top class strikers and yet they are rather similar in style.
It would come as a surprise if the ball was crossed in by Sterling and either of them shrugged off the likes of Shawcross and thumped a header into the net, that is exactly what Lambert is there to do. He adds power, presence and an aerial threat to this dangerous Liverpool side, and it is a key tool they lacked last year.
Cast your mind back to the 2-0 defeat by Chelsea. Mourinho shut all avenues down except out wide. When crosses came in neither Sturridge or Suarez ever threatened to challenge and win a header. Teams that win titles need a plan B and this is where Lambert could prove decisive. Manchester City have Dzeko or Negredo, Chelsea had Demba Ba and now Liverpool have their man.
The added value here by Rodgers is the fact Lambert is proven in the Premier League. He has notched 27 goals in two seasons for a mid-table side, an impressive statistic. By getting a player who knows the league well Rodgers could have an excellent investment. Time and again the Premier League gets excited by players who have scored goals in Europe, arrive for big transfer fees only to fail to adapt to the rigors of the league.
Sergie Rebrov £11 million and 10 goals in 60 games, Massimo Maccarone £8.2 million and 18 goals in 81 games and most recently Kostas Mitrogolu £12 million and no goals are testament to that fact. Having a player with experience in the division is worth is weight in gold. Even at 32 he has a lot to offer and yes there are also example's of cheap players arriving and not doing well but Rodgers has in singing Lambert potentially saved a lot of money and got the same quality.
There is no doubt many will see buying a 32-year-old as a gamble. However if Liverpool are to compete for the title having a player who can hold up the ball and win the aerial battle will be vital in offering up a plan b. In purchasing a proven goal scorer who knows the league Liverpool have also saved they will hope missed out on yet another European flop such as Aspas has turned out to be.
Ricky Lambert won't start a head of Suarez or Sturridge but he will bring something new to the team giving a different edge to their attacking play. I expect Lambert to score at least 10 times this season, and who knows, those 10 could prove the difference in deciding the title.
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