Why signing Rickie Lambert makes a lot of sense for Liverpool

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Liverpool’s reported bid for Southampton and England striker Rickie Lambert has come as a surprise and somewhat divided opinion as to whether the 32-year-old is a good signing. George Brown outlines why he believes he will be a good fit at Anfield.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 21, 2013: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard shakes hands with Southampton's Rickie Lambert during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite the abundance of talent on the pitch at Anfield, there is an obvious and distinct lack of options off it. The big scouser will probably be limited in his game time, however, Lambert knows he will not be first – or even second choice striker were he to join Liverpool – though he would be happy in this knowledge.

The local lad is a known supporter of the club which plays into Liverpool’s hands greatly, any fan on the planet would take being third choice, behind the two most prolific strikers in the country. The commitment Lambert would show is exactly what Rodgers is looking for, and for a player of such technical ability and physical presence it seems an easy choice, which brings me onto my next point.

Ability

Ricky Lambert is a very good player. His reading of the game, touch, ability to play a killer ball and link up play are a massive part of the success he has enjoyed while at Southampton. 13 goals and 10 assists in 37 games show how influential Lambert was last season, he also only missed one game, not bad for a player now labelled by some Liverpool fans as being “too old”.

Arguably the biggest advantage of signing Lambert is that he offers a different option, some variation. When Iago Aspas came on against Chelsea, would we have preferred that to be Lambert? Lambert possesses the physical stature of a centre-half, yet has the composure to get goals, which would give Liverpool a massive advantage in breaking down teams set up like Chelsea.

That game set a precedent as both Palace and Newcastle settled on a back five in the following matches, inviting pressure, conceding possession, and playing on the break, which worked in stifling Liverpool’s attack for large parts of each game.

If the swashbuckling and all out attacking style continues for Liverpool, more and more teams will adopt Chelsea’s tactics. And so a solution must be sought, enter Ricky Lambert. A domineering presence in the air and quick with his feet, Lambert could give Liverpool the option to play slightly more direct; with Lambert able to hold up play and his knock downs to Suarez or Sturridge would create a whole new set of problems for the opposition.

Set pieces will again be a vital tool in Liverpool’s armoury, just consider the potential of Lambert attacking a Gerrard dead ball and you will understand Brendan Rodgers’ thinking. Lambert too can take a quality free-kick, and his penalty record isn’t bad either!

Value

A relatively low fee, reported as £4 million plus add ons by most media, for a proven Premier League goal scorer with enough ability to fit into a Brendan Rodgers team, seems like a good deal. Aside from ability, Lambert knows the club, the fans, the history, he doesn’t need any time to settle or adjust, he will be achieving a lifelong dream in playing for the reds and enjoying every second. I for one would love to see it happen.

George Brown

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