Origi and Berahino key to West Brom’s pursuit of Liverpool man

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The arrival of Divock Origi will be a key factor in the futures of Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli at Liverpool, with the Englishman interesting a number of Premier League strugglers should he become available this January.

With the Reds turning to Belgian striker Origi to rescue their woes in front of goal this January, bringing him to Anfield before his loan deal with Lille ends, one or both of Lambert and Balotelli could make a Merseyside exit to balance the squad.

Both Crystal Palace and West Brom are lingering around Lambert like Oliver Twist looking for seconds and it could be the Baggies who have satisfied their stomachs by the time the winter window closes.

The Baggies are certain to do some business during January, with the 11/4 relegation candidates’ new boss Tony Pulis keen to mould the squad to his liking since taking over from Alan Irvine.

Lambert reportedly sits on top of a Pulis wishlist that also contains Blackburn’s Rudy Gestede and Stoke’s Peter Crouch, but could be the most realistic target should room at Liverpool’s striking table become sparse.

The former Southampton man has already had sporadic chances in Brendan Rodgers’ first-team this season and while he would be reluctant to leave his boyhood club, may need to for the sake of his career.

Lambert would be a guaranteed starter at the Hawthorns, where he could rediscover the form that helped secure his Liverpool move in the first place, as well as the first of his 11 England caps.

It remains to be seen whether the Baggies keep hold of current star striker Saido Berahino, but if Pulis decides keeping hold of the Burundi-born livewire is too tough a task, the England U21 international could be used as a makeweight with the Reds, who are known to hold an interest in the striker.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.