Rickie Lambert’s 79th minute strike to put Saturday’s Premier League encounter against Aston Villa beyond the hosts was met by scenes of utter joy by Liverpool players and fans alike — here the scorer and Jordan Henderson explain why.
Lambert’s low shot from 18 yards out gave Liverpool the breathing space they needed to secure three points after Fabio Borini had given the visitors a first half lead.
As the net rippled, Lambert and teammates ran straight to the Liverpool fans to launch themselves into a jubilant traveling Kop.
“Running to the fans is [something] I will always remember,” Lambert told the club’s official website. “It was brilliant. Absolutely superb. It’s brilliant to score a goal, but it’s unbelievable to score for Liverpool.”
It was Lambert’s third goal for the club in 23 appearances and Henderson, who gave a captain’s performance in the absence of the rested Steven Gerrard, explained Lambert’s delight.
“It was a fantastic finish,” Henderson said. “Rickie has got great finishing ability and he came on and worked really hard for us, holding the ball up and showing his quality with the goal.
“You can see how much it means to Rickie [from his celebration]. But as a team it meant a lot to get the three points. It was very, very pleasing.
The goal came as a relief to Liverpool who showed team spirit and resolve in holding out for the win. Brendan Rodgers’ side are now eight games unbeaten in all competitions.
Henderson was full of praise for his teammates, particularly impressed with an improved defensive performance — a second clean sheet of the month for the Reds as they keep the top four in sight.
“I thought the back three – as well as the goalkeeper – were fantastic, dealing with the long balls and the set pieces,” continued Henderson. “As a team, we were very solid. Thankfully we got the second goal with a great finish from Rick.”
He added, “It was a difficult period, but we knew that would happen. They are a good team, Villa. I thought Simon Mignolet was outstanding for the whole game, dealing with crosses coming into the box, he was very dominant.
“Simon is a great lad and a great professional, who works really hard. I think he’s dealt with everything fantastically well. That was the same last week. He put in a great performance and he did that again today, which was not only great for the team, but also for him personally.”
Liverpool currently sit eighth in the Premier League table, five points off Manchester United in fourth.
After a two-legged League Cup semi-final tie either side of next Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round clash at home to Bolton, the Reds host seventh placed West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday, January 31.
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