Rickie Lambert seems like an awfully nice man, and his contributions to Liverpool over the past month have been largely positive. He's worked hard as the lone striker, trying to hold up play and link with whoever's struck Brendan Rodgers' fancy on a given afternoon or evening. Six starts in a matter of weeks probably isn't what he expected, but he's certainly given his all, and it would be unfair to hold him entirely accountable for performances that increasingly looked as though they were taking place on quicksand rather than a football pitch.
Rodgers would agree that leaving Lambert as the only senior striker is unfair, which is why, according to the manager, they decided to bring in Mario Balotelli at the end of the summer when it looked as though Lambert would be the only option behind Daniel Sturridge. Fabio Borini was all but sold to Sunderland and/or QPR, leaving Lambert as the backup for the wonderfully talented but terribly injury-prone Sturridge.
It all looked very nice when Sturridge combined with Balotelli against Spurs with Lambert on the bench and Borini still at the club; depth up top had been a prime concern after the departure of Luis Suarez, and ahead of the season's first international break there looked to be plenty of reason for comfort as Liverpool's attack started to click.
Then Sturridge went down, Balotelli never hit his stride in front of goal before suffering an injury of his own, and Rodgers was left with Lambert and Borini. Both saw minutes, with the former earning far more, and in recent weeks, the latter has been left out completely despite the fact that there are no other recognized strikers in the senior squad. Other than Martin Skrtel, of course.
Little surprise, then, that his continued omission has given way to speculation that he's on his way out at the earliest possible opportunity. Rodgers' decision to leave him out is a message, apparently, one that's designed to communicate that he has no future at the club. At this point one would have to consider the message delivered, as the Italian forward has essentially been left out not only as his own personal expense, but potentially the expense of a Liverpool side that's needed a different option up top in recent weeks as Lambert's legs failed him.
Fabio Borini was never going to be Liverpool's savior, but as Rodgers' first signing at the club and an option when there were literally no others in the senior squad beyond Lambert, expecting him to get a chance didn't seem that far-fetched. Now it seems impossible despite the fact that there are six more matches for Liverpool to play from now through January 1. Maybe the names mentioned in the link above--Bony, Lacazette, Martinez, Dybala--arrive, maybe they don't.
What seems certain is that we won't see much of Borini, and that hoping he'll come good will have to do so as they watch him continue his career elsewhere.