Press Association Rickie Lambert enjoyed a whirlwind start to his West Brom career on Friday as hours after passing a medical and signing a two-year deal he marked his debut with two goals. And Lambert admitted the decision to leave Liverpool was not a difficult one. He told the Baggies’ website: ” I think the prospect of going into another season not playing was not going to happen. There were a few inquiries, but West Brom just felt right from the very beginning. That was the overriding factor.” And he revealed he was looking forward to linking up with Saido Berahino. “H e’s a very sharp player, very intelligent, very quick, he’s a good finisher. I think me and him up top would be a great partnership,” he added. “I want to get back playing football, but I want to get back playing football to score goals. “I feel like I’ve got a lot of things to prove, I’ve got a lot of hunger and desire.” The fee was agreed around lunchtime and Lambert travelled down to Birmingham for a medical ahead of the deal being completed late in the day. He then started Albion’s pre-season friendly at his old side Bristol Rovers, opening the scoring with a deflected effort in the 23rd minute and doubling his tally with a close-range finish a minute after the break. He was replaced in the 56th minute. Lambert’s move to Liverpool 13 months ago was touted as a dream return for a player rejected by the club’s academy, but it quickly became apparent things were not going to work out and Lambert turned down a move to West Brom’s midlands rivals Aston Villa in January after the Reds accepted he was no longer part of manager Brendan Rodgers’ plans. “Rickie is a good, strong, solid player who is a great character, good in the dressing room and good on the pitch,” Baggies head coach Tony Pulis told the club’s official website. “We are very pleased to have him on board. “He’s a player of great pedigree and we look forward to integrating him into our squad.” Lambert made 36 appearances for Liverpool last season, but most of those were as a substitute as he never really got a run in the side even with main striker Daniel Sturridge injured for much of the campaign. He scored just three goals, two of those in back-to-back matches in November when he was given a chance to start, but never really looked like a long-term option. The striker sealed his move to the Hawthorns from Liverpool after the clubs swiftly concluded negotiations. Press Association Sport understands the Baggies have paid just under £3million for the 33-year-old, meaning the Reds will make a loss of more than a £1million on the player who only joined them from Southampton last summer.
Liverpool opened up the biggest lead by any team at the end of a day in English top-flight history with an emphatic victory over Southampton – but manager Jurgen Klopp says his side are “not even close to being perfect”.The Reds extended their advantage in the Premier League to 22 points over second-placed Manchester City, with a 4-0 win against Southampton at Anfield.They have also equalled City’s record of 20 consecutive Premier League wins at home and only Bill Shankly’s Liverpool team in 1972 had a longer winning streak on home soil in English top-flight history. “We’re not even close to being perfect. We just look to use our skills in the best possible way. The boys have done that for a while pretty good and that’s why we have these numbers,” said Klopp.“We didn’t want a 22-point lead. We wanted 73 points at the end of today.”Four second-half goals gave Liverpool a victory that extends their unbeaten run in the league to 42 games and means they have picked up 100 points from the last 102 available.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the opener against Southampton just after half time – his second goal in as many league matches – when he drilled the ball low into the bottom corner.Reds’ skipper Jordan Henderson made it 2-0 on the hour mark with a calm finish after being set up by Roberto Firmino.Henderson then played in Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s third and the Egypt forward added a fourth from close range in the last minute.The scoreline was harsh on the visitors, who matched Liverpool for much of the first hour with Danny Ings going close in the first half and Shane Long also denied by home keeper Alisson.It was Southampton’s first away defeat in five games and they fall to 11th place.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
(LeBron has been in the last eight Finals – reaching all from the East, the lesser conference even when his Miami teams were the NBA’s best. Had LeBron’s Heat and Cavaliers been in the West, he would have done well to make half those Finals.)Besides LeBron, Magic Johnson signed four veterans with checkered pasts who might be in the rotation – Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson. The team hopes they will assume key roles, not the least of which is vanishing from its salary cap next spring.(Actually, Rondo, one of those viewed most skeptically, might be the most helpful, especially if Lonzo Ball struggles or gets hurt. Once a non-factor past 15 feet, Rondo has become a 35 percent 3-point shooter. He has become a leader as he has aged and chilled from his early years as a pain in the rear end whom older teammates put up with because he was so good.)There’s still too great a burden placed on the Lakers’ young, promising but still untested-at-this-level players.We know Kyle Kuzma could be very good and Brandon Ingram could be special. Josh Hart looks useful, at least. Lonzo Ball showed he was, indeed, a special playmaker, even while leaving other questions – shooting? – unanswered in a rocky rookie season.The young players will be the ones filling the major roles around James. Of the four, only one has ever been on an NBA team that was ever above .500 (Ingram, a rookie on the 2016-17 team that rocketed to a 7-5 start before finishing 26-56).Not enough shooters. You could hear this on any local talk show, or, indeed, at any local grade school but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.This isn’t just a critique you could hear on any talk show.Nevertheless, it’s not just some modern internet vogue, like so much of the hue and cry about unproven “analytics” in basketball.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Three-point shooting is the key to spacing the floor, which is the key to modern offense … the kind the Lakers, who were cutting edge in the Showtime 1980s but not nice, would like to develop in this new age, which is why they hired Luke Walton off the Warriors’ bench.Kuzma was a stunner, not least because he made 36.6 percent of his 3-point attempts. That was head-turning for a rookie but not for one of a contending team’s top shooting threats.Last season’s Warriors were No. 1 in 3-point accuracy at 39.1 percent, 1.4 percent ahead of No. 2 Boston (37.7). The Rockets were No. 1 in 3-pointers made at 15.3 per game, 2.6 ahead of No. 2 Brooklyn (12.7).The Lakers were No. 20 at 10 per game and No. 29 in accuracy at 34.5 percent.It’s asking a lot of young players to slash that gap but Magic Johnson, who had concluded LeBron’s Cavaliers had too many specialists such as Kyle Korver, didn’t bring in a single outside shooter, aside from drafting Ukrainian Svi Mykhailiuk (Kansas) in the second round.This might have been all about knowing they’re waiting ’til next season.Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Now for the season Lakerdom has waited all decade for …Oh, wait, that’s next season, after the Lakers bag that second star player they’ve saved salary cap space for, such as Kawhi Leonard or (they can dream) Kevin Durant.This season should be titled “In the meantime.” For the Lakers, who measure success in titles, this is still about rebuilding to contend on that level, as opposed to being there.The Western Conference powers far outgun them – that’s the Rockets as well as the Warriors and perhaps two or three or more teams. Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed I’m guessing that if Magic thought there was a title on the line this season, he would have brought in some shooters … the way he had Byron Scott and Michael Cooper, who meant so much in Showtime, even before offense became all about spacing and shooting.In other words, wait ’til next year. In that meantime, good luck, Luke!None of this means this season will be anything like the lean ones.It’s actually disappointment-proof with Lakers fans, once the most spoiled of fat cats, enchanted at the thought of making the playoffs, which once would have elicited yawns here.Better yet, with James as a magnet, there’s every reason to believe they can land that second star next summer, leading to even better times in the 2019-20 season.In the meantime, LeBron, at 33, has to continue aging arch-gracefully. The young players have to keep coming. As a team they have to be as good, or better, on the court as they are on paper.What’s the problem? After all the down years, this looks like up in Lakerdom. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Las Vegas over/under has the Lakers at 48.5 wins, a fair projection that ties them with Utah for No. 4 in the West, 14 behind the Warriors, six behind Houston, two behind OKC.The Nuggets are one back. The Timberwolves are two back, only because of the furor around Jimmy Butler’s trade demand.These are unusually modest expectations on the Lakers, a glamour franchise that now has LeBron James, after finishing 23-18 last season, a pace that projects to a 46-win season pre-LeBron.Nevertheless, I’m going with the “under” on this season: Not enough cohesion, which even lesser Western challengers such as Denver, Portland and New Orleans have after years together.There are too many new moving parts in a conference in which the powers have so few. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions