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Price Boost: Likely Liverpool lad bumped for opener against Basel

| 09.12.2014

Ladbrokes have boosted Liverpool’s Rickie Lambert to a top-price 5/1 to score first when Liverpool host Basel on Champions League Group B D-Day, and the Scouser’s recent glimpses of striking form aren’t the only reasons to get behind him at Anfield.

Lambert has made the XI in each of his side’s past five matches, bagging the opener away to Crystal Palace and notching an equaliser within ten minutes of the first whistle at Ludogorets last time out in this competition.

This string of starts strongly suggests he is Reds boss Brendan Rodgers’ de facto number one centre-forward at present and will be until Daniel Sturridge returns from injury in January, unless the Northern Irishman brings in another striker early in the window.

Clearly unwanted Italian Fabio Borini has been frozen out of the squad completely over Liverpool’s past four matches, having failed to fire in eight appearances so far this term. It would be no surprise to see him head back to Sunderland on loan again next month.

Any transfer news regarding Borini is being crowded out by fellow Boot native Mario Balotelli though, with rumours circulating that the not-so-super striker is ‘finished’ at Liverpool, although credible winter destinations for the former Manchester City man are in short supply.

Is he still injured, or just completely untrusted? It’s impossible to say, but having failed to feature in any of his side’s past five fixtures, there’s little chance of Balotelli being ready for Basel.

That should give Lambert plenty of breathing space, and the Liverpool local boy has thrived in the past when handed greater responsibility to score goals.

He bagged 10 of his 14 Premier League strikes at Southampton last term after then-boss Mauricio Pochettino dispensed with Dani Osvaldo’s services in mid-December, before loaning the former Roma man back to Serie A side Inter at the end of January.

Furthermore, half of the 32-year-old’s last six top-flight strikes during that campaign broke deadlocks in their respective matches, so 5/1 about Lambert doing so again against the Swiss champions looks big enough.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune