Why Rickie Lambert's introduction proves Liverpool still need another striker

Rickie Lambert

Rickie Lambert's introduction brought about a change of system that challenged Liverpool's squad depth against Southampton.

It wasn't the most comfortable of afternoons for Liverpool and manager Brendan Rodgers yesterday but they would say it was 'job done' as they got their first win of the season on the opening weekend with a 2-1 victory over Southampton.

Yet, something that was key to Liverpool's victory was the introduction of one of their new signings in the form of Rickie Lambert. He replaced the creative Brazilian Philippe Coutinho as the game entered the closing stages with the game locked at 1-1, after a Nathaniel Clyne strike cancelled out Raheem Sterling's first half opener.

Taking off a creative player of Coutinho's quality may raise a few eyebrows, especially with the scoreline level and the Reds wanting to start the season with a win, but Lambert's introduction for the Brazilian brought about a system change as the Reds adopted the 4-4-2 diamond system which worked so effectively when the sides last met at St Mary's in March - where Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners.

Within minutes of coming on Lambert had a half-chance himself whilst he was involved in the build-up that led to Daniel Sturridge scoring the winner from close range.

Prior to his introduction, Liverpool had been playing what looked like a 4-2-3-1 system - some may argue it was 4-3-3 but given how deep that both Sterling and Jordan Henderson were dropping in order to combat the high pressing game undertaken by the visitors, a lot more of their time was dedicated to working in the midfield as Coutinho remained more isolated than he perhaps would've liked.

However, both of Liverpool's main striking options had to be on the field at this point in the game, whilst at other points in the season they may not enjoy such flexibility.

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It looks increasingly likely that Fabio Borini will remain a Liverpool player but his injury record does not inspire anybody with confidence and nor has he showed he can be a capable forward for the Reds yet, despite an impressive loan spell at Sunderland last season.

So there is even more need for Brendan Rodgers to bring in that one more player between now and the end of the transfer window. Not just so Liverpool have striking options but so they can maintain that flexibility, and keep the option of playing the 4-4-2 diamond open should they need it again during closer encounters during the season.

How important is it for Liverpool to strengthen further between now and when the transfer window closes?

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