Liverpool have completed the signing of England striker Rickie Lambert from Southampton for a fee believed to be around £4m.
The deal completes a remarkable comeback for the Scouser, 32, who was a part of the club's academy set-up for five years before being released as a 15-year-old in 1997.
Lambert then spent 13 years in League One and Two with Blackpool, Macclesfield, Stockport, Bristol Rovers and Southampton before consecutive promotions with the latter brought him to the Barclays Premier League for the first time at the age of 30
'I can't believe it,' Lambert told the club's official website. 'I've loved this club all my life. I left here 17 years ago - and I haven't stopped loving it since.
'I have always dreamt of playing for Liverpool, but I did kind of think the chance of playing for them had gone. I didn't think the chance would come.'
With Liverpool in the Champions League they will need a lot more players to cope with the games, the injuries, suspensions and general fatigue, especially in the season following a World Cup.
Lambert's arrival at Anfield came as a surprise, especially considering manager Brendan Rodgers had previously off-loaded Andy Carroll, who is also considered to be a target man, early on in his tenure. However, the Liverpool boss believes Lambert is a different kind of player and is confident he can fit in to the system while also providing another option if required.
Lambert goes with the blessing of Southampton, whose chairman Ralph Krueger said: 'On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Rickie. He served with distinction and helped to take Saints from League One to the Premier League.
'Rickie has been a shining light in Saints’ growth and will forever remain an icon in the history of the club. He leaves with the best wishes of everyone at Southampton and will always be welcome back at St Mary’s.'
Liverpool are continuing to pursue his Southampton and England team-mate Adam Lallana, with an improved bid of £25m having been submitted to the south coast club.
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