Trevor Francis says Brendan Rodgers needs to sign a £30million striker after watching Rickie Lambert’s struggles in pre-season.
England international Lambert arrived from Southampton at the start of the summer in a £4million deal and is the only new striking option in the squad ahead of a Premier League season in which the club are looking to replace the goals of the departed Luis Suarez.
The 32-year-old failed to find the net in any of Liverpool’s International Champions Cup matches in America and after missing a glorious opportunity in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in Monday’s final, Francis says Rodgers may be alarmed by his form.
“He would have expected more from Lambert,” said the Sky Sports pundit.
“He will try and gloss over it in the best way possible because he wants to keep his confidence high, but this is a player who at the moment is struggling.
“I’ve watched him in three or four games and in one game he was taken off at half-time and today he struggled throughout. He didn’t look comfortable playing in those surroundings.
“He is desperate for a goal. Steven Gerrard scored the goal from the penalty spot and I wish that had been Lambert because he needs a goal. The quicker he gets it, the better for him.
“He’s got an important role to play there.”
Liverpool have splashed the cash following the sale of Suarez with the likes of Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Lazar Markovic arriving, while Divock Origi was signed from Lille for £10million and loaned back to the French club.
Rodgers expects two more signings before the window closes and Francis insists one of those must be a top-level centre forward.
He added: “If they get the left-back Alberto Moreno then I think that’s going to cost close to £20million and that will take the spending up to £110million and £10million of that was spent on Divock Origi who has gone back on loan to Lille.
“So forget the young Belgian player for the moment, there’s £100million spent and only £4million put aside for a striker, that being Lambert.
“I just think that somewhere along the line the balance is not right. He needed a £30milion striker. Don’t ask me who because that’s not my job – that’s why he is in the job and why he has got scouts all over the world looking to try to bring somebody in.
“Ultimately it might come back to bite him. Whatever he’s going to do, he has got to be positive and I believe he’s got to do it before the transfer window closes at the end of August."