Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp has expressed his empathy towards Liverpool forward Rickie Lambert after the Reds signed Mario Balotelli from AC Milan.
Lambert was released from his boyhood team aged 15 and spent most of his career plotting around the lower leagues, representing sides such as Stockport County and Macclesfield Town.
However, 17 years down the line, through hard work and ambition, the Kirkby native secured a dream move back to Anfield moving from Southampton for £4 million.
Nonetheless, with the £16 million arrival of Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge also commanding the Liverpool front line, it is likely to push Lambert down Reds boss Brendan Rodger's team sheet, and Redknapp feels a lot of sympathy for the 32-year-old.
Speaking to the Sun he said: "The one player I feel sorry for in all this is Rickie Lambert.
"He fulfilled a dream going back to his hometown club in the summer. But he is likely to be third choice behind Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli.
"That makes me sad - and worries me. Years ago if you were an England centre-forward you would be regarded as one of the best in the land and wouldn't be left on the bench hoping to get 15 minutes at the end of a game when your team is 3-0 up."
Lambert expected to be third choice
When Rickie Lambert signed for Liverpool in June, it was still a time when the club had Luis Suarez on their books before he moved to Barcelona
In that situation, Lambert expected himself to be third choice behind Suarez and Sturridge, especially after the pair notched 52 Premier League goals between them last season.
Just to represent and aid Liverpool was enough for Lambert to sign and to fulfil his dream of possibly lifting the title with his boyhood club, even if he may not feature as much as he may like.
Without signing Balotelli, Liverpool would have been left with just two recognised strikers in Lambert and Sturridge. Surely, the former Southampton man recognised if the Merseyside club want to challenge for the title, they need more of a threat up top and expected another forward to join
Not all doom and gloom
Despite Balotelli joining Anfield, I honestly do not think it will have all that much effect of Lambert's game time. If Reds boss Brendan Rodgers decides to play Sturridge and the Italian newcomer up top, Lambert will be first in line to replace either.
Even if Rodgers decides just to play one striker, Lambert should not be disheartened and there is every chance he will get the nod over the other forward on the bench.
We saw that Liverpool lacked a 'Plan B' last season, as defences put 10 men behind the ball and stopped Red shirts getting past them. Despite there being just one game this season, the same effect has already occurred
When at 1-1 with 15 minutes to play, Liverpool lacked options of break down Southampton. On came Lambert and last year's Premier League runners up changed their style of play in unison with his arrival to the pitch.
Jordan Henderson went wide and Liverpool began putting crosses into the box targeting the number nine and this is how Liverpool got their second goal.
Further, Liverpool also have the Champions League on their agenda this season. The Reds were blessed by no European football last season, however now they re-enter the competition the club has won five times, a bigger squad is necessary.
To be honest, three strikers looks like a skinny amount when you are playing two times a week so I see Lambert featuring a lot for Liverpool in either or both competitions.
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