Liverpool have today announced the completion of a deal for Southampton star and England international Rickie Lambert.
Considering his performances this season it could be a shrewd piece of business, but the question is where will he play? Last season Liverpool showed they can play good football, score plenty of goals and again challenge for the title. But with arguably the best attacking unit in the league already, it makes the move for Lambert all the more surprising.
Liverpool have a good number of strikers, with Fabio Borini and Iago Aspas playing back up to the regulars Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge with other players like Raheem Sterling playing attacking roles.
However Lambert is a different type of player to the ones that Liverpool have utulised this season, and as such he will give the team a different option when attacking. At 6ft 2in he has the size and strength to fight off defenders and challenge for a long ball, just as Alvaro Negredo has done for Manchester City this season.
When City where struggling to break down teams they brought Negredo into the team to partner Sergio Aguero and it proved to be very successful. With Negredo playing the target man role it gave the more creative players the space they needed to get the win and this must be something Brendan Rodgers has noticed. Although Liverpool have four players that could realistically challenge for a starting place they are all quite similar in their style of play and having that other option in the team will only make them stronger.
The biggest question since the bid was announced was how much will he realistically play? At Southampton he was a starting player and the amount of playing time he has had this season has given him to chance to show how good a player he is. Liverpool clearly have a style of play that Rodgers favours and it doesn’t seem likely that in the current system Lambert would get many games.
The England international has always been open about supporting Liverpool and it’s common knowledge that he played for the club at youth level and maybe his affection for the club has clouded his judgement. At 32 it could be too late, if the move proves to be unsuccessful, to move on and there’s a long list of players who have moved to bigger clubs that struggled.
Lambert could have signed a contract to sit on the bench at Liverpool, or maybe he will be the purchase of the season...only time will tell.
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