By Danny Wright
Rickie Lambert has claimed that he started to fall out of love with football during his one-season spell with Liverpool.
Lambert, 35, has recently announced his retirement from football after almost 20 years of playing in the professional game which has seen him play for the likes of Macclesfield, Southampton, Liverpool and West Brom.
The boyhood Reds supporter completed a childhood dream when he moved to Anfield after five successful years at Southampton in 2014 but he then struggled to hold down a first-team spot in a side containing the talents of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Lambert made a number of appearances off the bench, but largely failed to have the impact he would have hoped before he was shipped out to West Brom a year later.
Now, the former England international has admitted that he made a big sacrifice by leaving his role as the regular goalscorer for Southampton by moving to Liverpool.
“I didn’t play much at Liverpool and it was the same at West Brom and then Cardiff,” he said to the Daily Mail.
“I was getting well paid but I never started playing football for the money. And when I decided to go to Liverpool I sacrificed a regular first-team place and that was when I started to fall out of love with it. I never should have accepted being on the bench, even though Brendan Rodgers had made it clear to me I would be back-up for Suarez and Sturridge.
“I was never as quick or as technically good as the best players, but in my own head, when it came to actually playing, I could convince myself I was the best.
“But when I joined up with England I felt lucky to be there, and it was the same at Liverpool. And when I look back now I realise I lost something mentally as a player, by allowing that to happen.”
Lambert made 36 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool, scoring just three goals in the process as he started just 12 games.
He went on to play for West Brom and Cardiff as his career started to take a downward turn before he failed to find a new club after his release from the Welsh side.
In other Liverpool news, David Edwards has compared this Reds teenager to a worldwide superstar of the game.