31 Jul 2015

Done Deal: Liverpool 'confirm' permanent transfer for 'excellent' attacker. £25m mega-deal next?

It's official: after months of speculation, excellent Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert has quit the club, and after barely being given a proper chance by Brendan Rodgers over the last year, who can blame him?

Earlier today, the official Liverpool FC website today:

"Liverpool FC have today confirmed that striker Rickie Lambert has completed a permanent switch to West Bromwich Albion".

After sealing the 2-year deal, West Brom manager Tony Pulis raved:

"Rickie is a good, strong, solid player who is a great character, good in the dressing room and good on the pitch. We are very pleased to have him on board."

According to The Independent, the transfer fee is £3m, which means the Reds have made a £1m loss in just one year.

Hours after signing for the Baggies, Lambert purged his Anfield frustration by scoring two goals in a pre-season friendly against Bristol Rovers.

Like so many of Rodgers transfers, the Lambert deal has turned out to be a total waste of time and money.

I've made my views on Lambert clear many times, but I'll bang this drum once again: Brendan Rodgers is mostly to blame for his failure at Anfield, and the stats arguably show that:

* Season pre-LFC: 25 goals/assists in 39 apps

* Goal/assist every 1.5 games (35 starts - G/A every 117 mins)

* Last season at LFC: 3 goals/2 assists in 36 apps

* Goal/assist every 7.2 games (12 starts - G/A every 252 mins)

* Overall: 80% reduction in creative output | 54% reduction in G/A per minute.

* Southampton total: 115 goals/68 assists (183) in 229 apps

* Goal/assist every 1.2 games

In my view, any manager who presides over such a stunning fall from grace needs to take a long, hard look at their methods/man-management etc.

And it's not just Lambert - Mario Balotelli has also suffered an 80% reduction in creative output since signing for Liverpool.

Clearly, Rodgers had no idea how to get the best out of Lambert, which doesn't bode well for Christian Benteke, who will also have to be managed effectively if Liverpool are to see the best of him.

Lambert's dream ultimately went up in smoke, but overall, there are some personal positives for the striker:

* He achieved the lifelong dream of playing for his boyhood club - how many people get to do that?

* Lambert got to work with (and play alongside) Steven Gerrard, one of the true legends of the modern game.

* He also gained experience of playing in the Champions League, even if it was short-lived.

Plus he almost certainly got paid obscenely well for the privilege, so not bad at all, really.

The script is already written, though. Lambert will score against Liverpool when the Reds face West Brom this season, and it'll probably be a goal then ends up being fatal to the club's chances of finishing in the top four.

On a related note: Liverpool are reportedly still tracking £25m-rated Alexander Lacazette, and if the Reds can seal that deal, it'll represent a massive (and exciting) upgrade on Lambert (and indeed Balotelli, and Borini).

Author: Jaimie K


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