We all knew it was coming. There was no secret and there were to be no hiccups. Official word took some time, though. This morning Liverpool officially announced Rickie Lambert has signed a two-year deal with the club, completing the £4 million (plus add-ons) move from Southampton to his boyhood club.
The 32-year-old forward completed his medical on Saturday, one day after England’s game against Peru and one day prior to England’s trip to Miami for World Cup preparations.
“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,” Lambert told the club’s official website. “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 scored 117 goals in 235 appearances for Southampton, helping the club eventually reach the Premier League again. Since the club got back to the Premier League two seasons ago, Lambert has not disappointed despite the world class opposition. In fact, he’s flourished. And Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has taken notice and a liking to Lambert’s overall game.
Here’s what the Liverpool manager told the club’s official website after Lambert’s signing was announced:
“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,” he commented.
“It’s only late on in his career – at 29, 30, 31 – that people are really starting to focus on his qualities. He was probably seen as the traditional big No.9, a British striker that is good in the air.
“But he’s one of the most accomplished footballers I’ve seen. It has been so refreshing that he’s got his call into the England team, and he certainly hasn’t let anyone down – he has been outstanding.
“Look at his touch, look at the level of his goals, the different types of goals he has scored over his career, and he’s a specialist on penalties as well.
“I think he is a terrific footballer and any team he plays against, he’s always a handful.”
Lambert is being brought in as Liverpool’s third forward option behind the Premier League’s two most prolific goalscorers, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez. He will give Rodgers depth in an area of the field he was short of options last year, which will be important with Liverpool having to play in the Champions League this year.
There is the added bonus that Liverpool and Southampton played similair styles last year. And Lambert believes that will help him adjust to joining the ranks of a team that scored 101 goals last year.
“I did think the two teams were similar last season in the way they played,” Lambert said. “I would like to think that has helped me – and is what will help me adapt to Liverpool’s style. I believe good players can play with good players. It might take a little bit of time to adapt to the players around me and get used to the games, but I am sure it won’t take me long to find out what the manager wants, what the players need from me and what I can bring to the team. I just can’t wait to get going.”