Rickie Lambert joins Liverpool
Liverpool have confirmed striker Rickie Lambert has completed his move from Southampton.
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The 32-year-old, currently out in Miami with England's World Cup squad, underwent a medical on Saturday after a fee of £4million was agreed with the Saints.
Lambert is understood to have signed a two-year deal with the club who released him as a 15-year-old.
Born in Kirkby, Merseyside, Lambert was a member of Liverpool's academy until his mid-teens, after which he found himself playing in the lower leagues for the likes of Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before finding success at Southampton.
He will provide some much-needed back-up to frontline strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and while he may have to content himself with a supporting role from the bench at Anfield the chance to rejoin his boyhood club and play in the Champions League was an opportunity he did not want to miss.
"I can't believe it. I've loved this club all my life. I left here 17 years ago - and I haven't stopped loving it since," Lambert told liverpoolfc.com.
"I have always dreamt of playing for Liverpool, but I did kind of think the chance of playing for them had gone. I didn't think the chance would come.
"I know how big Liverpool are - and it means everything to me - but I know what is important; I know it's what I do on the pitch and the minutes I play."
"I know that's what matters, and that's what I'll be focused on."
Lambert's arrival at Anfield came as a surprise, especially considering manager Brendan Rodgers had previously off-loaded another player considered a target man in Andy Carroll early on in his tenure.
However, the Reds boss believes Lambert is a different kind of player and is confident he can fit in to the system while also providing a different option if required.
"I've seen Rickie Lambert over the years and he's one of those players that probably never got the recognition for what a really good footballer he is," Rodgers said.
#LFC are delighted to confirm the signing of Rickie Lambert from Southampton #LambertLFC
"It's only late on in his career - at 29, 30, 31 - that people are really starting to focus on his qualities.
"He was probably seen as the traditional big number nine, a British striker that is good in the air.
"But he's one of the most accomplished footballers I've seen.
"It has been so refreshing that he's got his call into the England team, and he certainly hasn't let anyone down - he has been outstanding.
"Look at his touch, look at the level of his goals, the different types of goals he has scored over his career, and he's a specialist on penalties as well.
"I think he is a terrific footballer and any team he plays against, he's always a handful."
Lambert spent five years at Southampton, scoring 106 goals in 207 appearances, and enjoyed considerable success as they earned promotion to the Premier League.
On his departure he wrote an open letter, published on the club's website, to fans to say thank you.
"What can I say? Southampton has been my life for the past five years, in which we have achieved all of our dreams and more," he wrote.
"First I have to thank Markus Liebherr for saving Southampton then Alan Pardew for bringing me to the club.
"Thank you to all the staff involved in making me the player I am today: without your knowledge and commitment I would not be here right now at a World Cup with England.
"Thank you to all the players, past and present, who I have had nothing but good times and success with driven by our club captain, Kelvin Davis. I love every last one of you.
STATEMENT: When Rickie Lambert requested to leave for @LFC, the club felt it could not stand in the way of his boyhood dream. #saintsfc
"Thank you to the managers I have worked with - Alan, Nigel (Adkins) and Mauricio (Pochettino) - and their teams for helping me and Southampton step up and adapt to every challenge that has come our way the past five years.
"When I grew up there was only one club I loved. I can honestly say now I have two clubs which will always be in my heart and that is thanks to the Saints fans.
"The people who support this club have been nothing short of amazing towards me and, when I look back in years to come, it will be the relationship I had with the fans here which will stand out the most.
"Southampton have allowed me to realise a lifelong ambition by joining Liverpool and taking my family home.
"The five-year plan when I arrived was to get this club from League One to the top half of the Premier League. Against all the odds we have achieved that.
"Now, under Katharina Liebherr's leadership, the club has the chance for new plan, a new chapter, and I wish them all the success in the world."
Rickie Lambert factfile
1982: Born February 16 in Liverpool.
1998: August - At the age of 16, Lambert begins his professional career by signing a deal with Blackpool.
2000: November - Released from the Seasiders by manager Steve McMahon.
2001: March - After being a free agent for four months, Lambert joins Third Division club Macclesfield.
November 17 - The forward scores his first two goals for the club in a 2-2 draw with Forest Green Rovers in the FA Cup.
2002: April 26 - Lambert transfers from the Silkmen to Stockport after they accept a club record bid of £300,000.
2005: February 17 - After making nearly 100 appearances for Stockport, Lambert leaves the relegation-threatened side for Rochdale.
2006: August 31 - Makes the move from Rochdale to Bristol Rovers for £200,000.
2007: February 27 - Scores against local rivals Bristol City to send Rovers through to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final, which they go on to lose to Doncaster Rovers in extra-time.
May 5 - Rovers make it into the League Two play-offs as they beat Hartlepool 2-1 with Lambert scoring the winning goal, and they go on to gain promotion beating Shrewsbury 3-1 in the final.
2009: April - Lambert is selected in the PFA's League One team of the year.
August 10 - Signs for Southampton for a fee of £1million.
August 11 - Scores on his Saints debut in a 2-0 League Cup win against Northampton.
2010: March 28 - Helps Southampton collect their first domestic trophy since 1976 by scoring a penalty in a 4-1 victory over Carlisle in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final.
April - Named in the PFA League One Team of the Year. Also handed the PFA Fans' Player of the Year award.
2011: May - Finishes the season with 31 goals, meaning that he is the top scorer in English football for the second season running. His form also helped the Saints finish second in League One, gaining promotion to the Championship as a result.
2012: March 13 - Wins the award for Championship player of the year.
April 28 - Secures a shot at Premier League football as Southampton achieve promotion with a final-day win against Coventry.
2013: March 21 - Signs a new contract to keep him at Southampton until the summer of 2016.
August 8 - Called up to the England squad by Roy Hodgson on the same day his daughter, Bella Rose, is born.
August 14 - Comes on as a substitute and nets the winner in a 3-2 defeat of Scotland at Wembley.
September 6 - Becomes the first England player to score in his first two internationals in 37 years after netting in 4-0 win over Moldova.
2014: May 12 - Named in England's 23-man World Cup squad.
June 2 - Joins Liverpool for undisclosed fee.