Liverpool simply cannot replace a player of Luis Suarez's quality. Brendan Rodgers will have accepted that fact and is instead taking a different approach with regards to spending the millions the club received from Barcelona in return for their prized asset.
The Northern Irishman has already secured the signatures of four players, with Loic Remy set to join them after a fee in the region of £8.5m was agreed with QPR. We witnessed last season that replacing one star man with a collection of players is often easier said than done, as Tottenham looked to spread the money they received for Gareth Bale over the entire squad. Although they finished a respectable sixth, it's fair to say that Spurs and the club's fans aren't really sure of their best XI.
There can be little question that Liverpool needed to add to their ranks, however, given that they now have to cope with the rigours of European football once again following their Champions League qualification. Just 20 players started a league match for the Reds last season, which is at least three fewer than any of the Premier League side's competing in Europe used and a full nine fewer than Manchester United.
The additions that Liverpool have made thus far should all prove to be valuable additions but there are still concerns that the Merseysiders haven't come close to replacing Suarez's goals. Lambert and Remy have each proven that they can find the net in England's top tier though, and will be used to supplement the efforts of Daniel Sturridge up front. With that in mind WhoScored.com look at who is more likely, or deserving, of regular playing time.
Lambert's arrival at Anfield was a surprise to many. The boyhood Liverpool fan has the chance to play out his dreams following a move from Southampton but in all likelihood could be used sparingly, in the Premier League at least. The 32-year-old lacks the versatility to feature with any great regularity, with his potential inclusion likely to force Sturridge into the wide role that he is so openly opposed to.
Lambert doesn’t offer the requisite number of goals needed for a leading man fighting at the top of the table. His respective tallies of 15 and 13 in the previous two Premier League campaigns aren't to be sniffed at but with a 14.2% conversion rate over that time, his isn't providing a top level goal return. What the journeyman forward does offer is an ability to bring others into play and with 15 assists over the last two seasons his final ball is impressive. He can pick out teammates looking to go beyond him and gets involved in general play well. For such reasons, Lambert still adds value to the side and should feature in plenty of cup matches or league encounters directly after European outings.
Loic Remy, should his touted move from QPR be completed, can and will expect a more integral role. The Frenchman may only have scored one more goal than Lambert last season (14) but his tally came from significantly less playing time due to injury. Remy struck every 150 minutes in the league for Newcastle on average, while the Saints man took just under 217 minutes to score. The 27-year-old's conversion rate was also superior to that of Lambert last season (15.6% to 12.6%), and while that's some way short of Suarez and Sturridge's efforts last term, he offers a useful option.
Remy can play wide on the left in a front three and lined up on that flank six times for Newcastle last season. This versatility will be crucial, with the France international able to use his pace on the counter to great effect. Indeed, among his statistically calculated styles of play according to WhoScored.com are 'Likes to cut inside' and 'Counter attack threat'.
Only the outward bound Suarez had more attempts from fast break situations in the Premier League than Remy in the 2013/14 campaign, with the forward also able to produce 1.1 successful dribbles per game compared to Lambert's meagre 0.2. In patient build-up play the England man is certainly an asset, with his styles of play from WhoScored including the fact that he 'Likes to do lay-offs', but he offers far less in fast transitions from defence to attack.
The one area in which Remy falls short of his potential new teammate is assists; registering just the three last season. Meanwhile, Lambert has developed a characteristic from WhoScored showing his strength when it comes to key passes. However, if you look to the number of chances each created per game last season Remy isn't far behind (1.2 to 1.5), with a modest assist tally attributable to profligacy from his former Newcastle teammates, whose struggles in front of goal were clear in his absence, netting just four goals in the 14 league matches that he didn't start.
With all of this in mind the imminent striker signing should feature more often than the one already confirmed. With a rating of 7.14 from WhoScored.com, Remy's output was greater than that of Lambert (6.99) last season. Nevertheless, both have enough quality to contribute to the squad that Brendan Rodgers is building and due to what will be a significant increase in match action for the Reds - who exited the two domestic cup competitions relatively early on last season - neither are likely to be a bit part player.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.
Martin Laurence (On Twitter @martinlaurence7)
- Sports & Recreation
- Loic Remy
- Premier League
- Brendan Rodgers
- Luis Suarez