Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Lambert to Liverpool - Summer Signing Review #1:

Done: Lambert was officially unveiled by Liverpool on Monday, having signed on the weekend.
Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post. 

Today, I will be reviewing the summer signing of English striker Rickie Lambert, who has just signed with this season's EPL title runners-up Liverpool to join them on an inital two-year contract deal next season from Southampton. 

Who would say no to a top 4 team and a potential start in the UEFA Champions League?

The transfer fee is thought to be in the region of £4million pounds plus add-ons, and I will be analyzing whether the move is a good one or not for both parties involved. 

Just a quick notice to anyone who is interested in buying any clothing or merchandise ahead of the World Cup - which starts a week tomorrow.

My friend has some fresh and exciting products which really capture the beautiful game from previous World Cups especially with his t-shirt collection.


A sample of the cool new World Cup-themed t-shirts which are available on sale, now!
Go and check him out here:
http://art-of-football.com/blogs/talking-the-game/14289661-are-you-ready-for-brazil-2014 and -
http://art-of-football.com/collections/world-cup-fever


Here is some background information on the deal:  
  • The 32-year-old, who is currently in Miami with England's World Cup squad underwent a medical on Saturday after a fee was agreed with Southampton
  • He signed for the club who released him as a 15-year-old, with fond memories of his former club and the ambition for him to join their title charge encouraging him to sign once again for The Reds 

He is an experienced striker, there is not a doubt about that, and is a bargain at only £4million for a player of his ability.

Here is what Lambert had to say on his dream move back home:

"I can't believe it. I've loved this club all my life. I left here 17 years ago - and I haven't stopped loving it since.


Always in the memory: Lambert was a Liverpool fan as a child growing up, a dream move!
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," Lambert told liverpoolfc.com.

Perhaps his age is the reason why his transfer value is not as high as someone who is ten years younger than him for example, but he will still provide some much-needed back-up to the front duo of SAS (Suarez and Sturridge) who carried Liverpool's attacking charge this past season with their fast pace counter attacks and clinical finishing.


Lambert has been one of the best strikers in the EPL this past season, excluding SAS
Lambert's qualities and weaknesses:
  • He is experienced, so will be an asset to the younger players at the club who could learn from him - especially the attacking-minded squad members
  • Let's just say he would not beat the likes of new team-mates Sturridge and Sterling in a race, but his clinical finishing and vision to get into the best attacking position possible makes up for his pace
  • He scored 13 goals and made 10 assists this past season for Southampton, which shows that he isn't afraid to contribute to the team aswell as finish off his scoring opportunities
  • His defensive contribution is lacking, meaning that he is more likely to stay up the pitch (near the centre circle) to wait for counter attacks to begin and gallop forward
  • He is a set-piece specialist, meaning that he can take free-kicks from up to 40 yards out and has a swerving corner shot
  • He is also a specialist at penalties; since joining Southampton he has converted his last 34 penalties and has not missed from the spot since 2009, which has not been broken across the world
  • He is less confident when it comes to dribbling on the ball in comparison to the likes of Sturridge and Suarez, he is better assisting with direct passes to team-mates and quality ball control
This is what Rodgers had to say about his new signing: 

"I've seen Rickie Lambert over the years and he's one of those players that probably never got the recognition for what a really good footballer he is," Rodgers said.

On his departure he wrote an open letter, published on the club's website, to fans to say thank you. The next two pictures are the unedited words from Lambert himself.


Emotional: Lambert had contributed massively to Southampton's successes in recent years.

Lambert's career in dates:

1982: Rickie was born on the 16th of February, in Liverpool. 

1998: In August, he began his professional career by signing a deal with Blackpool - a year after being released by his boyhood club. 

2000: In November of 2000, he was released from Blackpool by then manager Steve McMahon.

2001: March - After being a free agent since his release, Lambert joined League 1 club Macclesfield.

On the 17th of November, he scored his first two goals for the club in an FA Cup match.

2002: On the 26th of April, Lambert joined Stockport after Macclesfield accepted a then club-record bid of £300,000.

2005: On the 17th of February, he left Stockport for Rochdale after making nearly 100 appearances.

2006: Joined Bristol Rovers from Rochdale for £200,000 on transfer deadline day.

2007: A breakthrough year for Lambert - 
On the 27th of February, he scored against local rivals Bristol City to send Rovers through to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final (which they went on to lose)

May 5th - Rovers made it into the League Two play-off's as they beat Hartlepool 2-1 with Lambert scoring the winning goal, and then they gain promotion in the final, beating Shrewsbury.

2009: April - Lambert was selected in the PFA's League One Team Of The Year.

August 10 - He signed for Southampton, a transfer fee of £1million pounds was paid. The day after he signed, he scored on his debut in a League Cup win. 

2010: Helped Southampton to win their first domestic trophy in over 30 years by scoring a penalty in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final. 

In April, he was named in the PFA League One Team Of The Year, and also won the PFA Fans' Player Of The Year Award.

2011: Finished the 2010-11 season with 31 goals, meaning that he was the top scorer in English football for back-to-back seasons.

Helped The Saints to finish second in League One, thus gaining promotion to the Championship.

2012: Won the award for Championship Player Of The Year in March, and then gets his shot at Premier League football in dramatic style with a final-day win against Coventry in late April.


Hero: Lambert was paraded by the Saints' after it was confirmed that they were back in the EPL
Support: Lambert has thanked the Southampton fans for believing in him, the past 5 years
2013: August - Called up to the England squad for his national team debut, on the same day that his daughter, Bella Rose is born. Comes on as a sub and scores the winner in a 3-2 win over Scotland at Wembley a few days later. 

In September of the same year, he became the first England player to score in his first two internationals for 37 years after scoring against Moldova in a 4-0 win. 


Clinical under pressure: Lambert has impressed in his cameos for England recently
2014: Scored 13 goals in this past season, joint 13th highest total in the league with new club team-mate Steven Gerrard. 


(From left to right) Lambert, Gerrard and Sturridge pose for a picture together ahead of the WC.
Named in England's 23-man World Cup squad on the 12th of May.

Officially unveiled as a Liverpool signing on Monday. 

In conclusion, I think that Lambert's move to Liverpool is an intelligent one by Rodgers.

Lambert played well for Southampton this past season and it would be ignorant to say that the side do not need a back-up striker just in-case one of SAS gets injured - Lambert probably will not expect to start every match for Liverpool but if he impresses in training for example, he could easily start behind the two strikers in CAM, who knows? 

Liverpool are doing shrewd business at the minute, trying to get their transfer activity done and dusted quickly without any deadline rush of August - Lambert is a great signing and £4million is a bargain.

I just hope Southampton are able to replace him in a good way, they have no bad feelings over the transfer of a former Liverpool player but the absence of him could prove costly next season for a side who are looking to improve on an impressive season this term, the way it is looking they could lose their best players and unless they replace them well they could be in trouble.

A clear signal of intent, Lambert could be one of many signings this summer for Rodgers and Liverpool.