Most of the early transfer talk this summer focused on Adam Lallana and Alberto Moreno, so naturally the club's first signing was Rickie Lambert. It was a move that had little build-up before it was finalized, but one that, at £4m, made good sense for Liverpool. His presence provided the oft-mentioned Plan B and something different, but it also provided a striker who was comfortable with the ball at his feet and used to operating in a system that relied on interplay throughout the forward areas.
For the player not only made sense but proved a dream come true, as he was finally able to return to his boyhood club--actual boyhood club, not Robbie Keane boyhood club--after 17 years. It was one of the more heartwarming stories of the summer, but one that Lambert is now ready to leave behind as he gets ready for the upcoming season:
"It's gone. Obviously I'm still made up to be here but it's gone. It's about knuckling down now and doing my best.I went back early so I met the lads that I hadn't met before and was around them for a week before the England lads and other internationals came back. I've been here for four weeks and I feel at home. My family are settled and already in a house, so I don't need to worry about them - I can just concentrate on football."
We haven't quite seen the best of Lambert yet; in the first few matches he, like everyone else, was mostly finding his footing, and he's lacked the direct support on which he typically thrives as Brendan Rodgers continues to tinker with his formations through the preseason. Against Manchester City there were brief glimpses of a partnership with Daniel Sturridge, but drifting wide did him no favors and generally left him out of the mix as Liverpool's attack failed to click.
He'll surely improve as the season gets going, and once Rodgers settles on an approach, he'll have a role in mind for Lambert, one that's no doubt less about sentiment and more about how the former Southampton striker can best help Liverpool win.