With less than two weeks until the first football is kicked off in the 2014 World Cup, most of us footballers have turned our attention to Brazil. Just a handful of International friendlies remain as club managers are being faced with some of the toughest decisions they have dealt with as they trim the rosters down. But, as the summer will fly by as we cheer on our respective nation’s finest and watch the tournament unfold, it’s never too early to be thinking about the next EPL season.
With Liverpool narrowly missing out on their first league title in over two decades in a season of twists and turns that came down to Championship Sunday, the second place finish locked the club into Champions League play during the 2014-15 season. Brendan Rodgers has begun to bolster his starting XI for not only another run at the title, but for a deep run amidst Europe’s top clubs, with a 4-5m pound transfer of Rickie Lambert from Southampton.
Lambert had spent five years with the club early in his career and this time around, in a homecoming campaign, the forward will be on a 2-year deal with The Reds. With Liverpool’s young talent and a quick style of play, the 32 year old Lambert will provide a veteran leadership aspect and a proven track record of PL football. Making 37 total appearances in 2013-14 season, Lambert found the back of the net 13 times for the Saints on 51% shot accuracy.
From a fantasy aspect, I’m not so sure the transfer to Liverpool will help Lambert’s value much. With the already prolific striking duo of Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge, aka “SaS”, Lambert will likely be headed to a back-up role to provide the club with a nice substitute option. Lambert spent the bulk of his appearances at Southampton playing the full 90 more often than not, but should Lambert step into a feature role alongside one of Suárez or Sturridge, as the latter of the two missed time due to injury this past season, he’d likely provide nice value as he was top three on the Southampton squad in total chances created (a pass that leads to a shot on goal) with 53 on the season. Something that has great potential to translate to more assists off those created chances as Liverpool has better finishers. Finishers that lead Liverpool to a second place finish in the goals for category with 101, trailing only Premier League champions Manchester City(102).
With Lambert already on his way to Merseyside, Liverpool will be hoping this is just the start of a flurry of offseason acquisitions that will put them over the top and on their way to a drought-ending hoisting of the Barclay’s Premier League trophy. With these moves, Liverpool should once again provide us fantasy managers with a goal scoring options to insert into our everyday starting XI in the 2014-15 season to potentially hoist a championship trophy of our own, even if it is Fake Football.
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Stats pulled from Squawka.com