While they've been few and far between this season, the goals Liverpool's strikers have scored have at least, on the whole, been decisive. Fabio Borini's first-half strike yesterday held up as the winner, Mario Balotelli's two goals have leveled matches late in the Champions League and League Cup, and Daniel Sturridge's lone Premier League goal earned Liverpool all three points on the season's opening day against Southampton.
Rickie Lambert's, in contrast, haven't had quite the same influence. His bundled header at Ludogorets did get Liverpool back into the match after they conceded within three minutes, but strikes at Crystal Palace back in November and at Aston Villa yesterday were not, at least on paper, as impactful as goals from his cohort.
Yesterday's might not have been required for the win, but it did give Liverpool the comfort they desperately needed after a strong second-half performance from Villa, and it set off one of the season's most memorable celebrations in the away end. For Lambert, it was an unforgettable moment, and one upon which he can hopefully build as the final months of the season unfold:
"Running to the fans is [something] I will always remember. It was brilliant. Absolutely superb. It's brilliant to score a goal, but it's unbelievable to score for Liverpool. Raheem put me in, but I knew there was a player there, so I couldn't take it inside. Raheem was on the outside, which helped me put it through the defender's legs. To see it go in was brilliant. Obviously I want to affect the game and the best way to do that is to score the goal for my club."
Both of Lambert's Premier League goals this season have been well-taken, with the first coming inside of 90 seconds at Crystal Palace after an excellent first-touch, and yesterday's again involved smart work with the ball at his feet and a pinpoint finish. It's the type of work he's more than capable of, but with Liverpool struggling for such long stretches of the season, we've seen little of. Whether it's been nerves, loss of form, or simply reflective of the difficulties of the side as a whole, moments like yesterday's have been far too rare for Lambert and his fellow strikers.
With both Borini and Lambert finding the net, Mario Balotelli looking lively in each of his last two appearances, and Daniel Sturridge set to return from injury this month, that could be changing, though. And with Liverpool set for their most challenging stretch of the season, it couldn't be happening at a better time.