Rodgers owes his striker the Liverpool swansong he deserves

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Brendan Rodgers paid £4m to procure the services of Rickie Lambert last summer off the back of two very efficient seasons leading the line for Southampton in the Premier League.

Top-flight tallies of 15 and 13 respectively marked Lambert out as something of a bargain despite the striker being in the latter stages of his career, then aged 32.

For whatever reason, though, Rodgers has never held any faith with the England striker and lifelong Liverpool fan.

One of the first names on the teamsheet at Southampton, Lambert has only started five Premier League games for the Reds all season, while numerous games have seen him remain benched or thrown on for ridiculously short cameos.

His latest outing involved arguably the most ignominious of the lot when Rodgers threw him into the fray in the 90th minute during the FA Cup semi-final loss to Aston Villa.

He was then left out of the match day squad altogether for the next game at West Brom, where his fellow cast of Liverpool misfit forwards unsurprisingly couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Mario Balotelli continued to flout the faith placed in him by Rodgers, while Fabio Borini – another victim of cameos and little else – was his usual ineffective self late in the game.

That Balotelli has only scored one Premier League goal from nine starts and many more minutes afforded from the bench, defies belief the Italian is still in front of him.

As the season turns for home and first-choice striker Daniel Sturridge is once again reacquainting himself with the physio room, Rodgers must reassess his choices.

Even though top scorer Raheem Sterling is preferred in the big matches at the apex of a three-pronged attack, his goals-to-games record is far from enviable.

Starting with their visit to Hull, where Lambert is deemed a 23/10 shot to score at any point, it’s time Rodgers justified his purchase and gave the Liverpudlian the chance to sign off with some good memories from his ill-fated stint at his boyhood club.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.