Rickie Lambert, preparing for Friday night’s England first pre-World Cup friendly with Peru, is on the brink of signing for Liverpool in a deal worth £4m plus add-ons, with the striker understood to be desperate to join his hometown team, who rejected him as a 15-year-old.
Rickie Lambert is expected to undergo a medical at Liverpool on Saturday after an initial £4m fee was agreed with Southampton. The Reds had a bid accepted for the 32-year-old and personal terms have been agreed.
Lambert, a lifelong Liverpool fan, was born and raised in Kirkby and was with Liverpool’s Academy from the age of ten, before director Steve Heighway told him, at the age of 15, that he would not make the grade. “I never hold any grudges. These things either make or break you,” Lambert reflected recently. “At the time he (Heighway)was quite right to let me go. I wasn’t good enough. I thought it was the end of the world.” After three subsequent appearances for Blackpool, Lambert was released in 2000 by then manager Steve McMahon.
The centre-forward, who is in England’s squad for this summer’s World Cup, scored 14 times last season for the Saints, who paid Bristol Rovers £1m for the player’s services in August 2009.
Since then he has become an established Premier League striker and scored on his England debut, notching with his first touch in international football after coming on as a substitute against Scotland in August 2013.
A powerful and strong player, Lambert is also a free-kick specialist and has an exceptional penalty record, having scored his past 34 spot-kicks and having never missed for Southampton.
In Lambert, the Reds would be getting a player who will be an excellent back-up to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and he will see the move as a dream come true, being a boyhood fan and Liverpool-born, like Robbie Fowler returning to Anfield in 2006.
Lambert is a player who will add experience, professionalism and desire to the squad – a player with an excellent attitude, which will endear him to manager Brendan Rodgers. He’ll also add much-needed depth up front. Attitude and the correct mentality are constantly mentioned by Rodgers and have become synonymous with Liverpool lately under the manger’s transformation of the club. Those attributes are what Lambert will also bring to the club.
He certainly offers more options from the bench than Rodgers has had in the past 12 months, and at that price would be a good buy for the club. When Man United signed Teddy Sheringham in 1997, aged 31, it proved to be a superb move, and Lambert’s could be likewise for Liverpool.