Rickie Lambert finally made his full debut for Liverpool against Middlesbrough on Tuesday in the League Cup third round tie. He not only started but was made captain for the night – a dream come true for Lambert who is a boyhood Red and was released by Liverpool at the age of 15.
But sadly, he could hardly influence the game, though there was no shortage of commitment from his side. Having only been involved in previous substitute roles for Liverpool, it was a great chance for the 32-year-old to impress his new manager.
The off-key performance, however, stems from a lack of sharpness, which Lambert himself admits. The former Southampton striker, who joined Liverpool in the summer for a reported fee of £4.5m, feels he needs to work on his training regime with the club’s fitness coaches.
“I didn’t feel as sharp as I want to feel,” said Lambert as quoted by The Guardian. “It was things like my touches but that [sharpness] was the main thing I want to look at going back into training. I want to get my match fitness up because obviously everyone knows I’m not playing every game so I have to adapt myself now. I think I’m going to have to do more so my fitness is up to the same level as everybody else.
“It’s my sharpness and my fitness which I need to get on the training pitch and start improving it. I do work, I push myself to the limit, but maybe I am going to have to go to the fitness coach after this game and see if I can do more.”
Lambert, like any other striker, needs regular games under the belt to boost his confidence. At Liverpool, however, he has to accept the bit-part role, playing back-up to Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge.
With no goals in five matches, pressure is slowly mounting on his shoulders; but mere training on the gym won’t bring back the level of sharpness required to perform at the top level. Plain and simple, he needs to play week in week out, which Rodgers cannot offer him at the moment. In such a scenario, he has to find a way to make best use of the limited opportunities available to him. He needs to get the confidence back – may be a goal would do the world of good for him.