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Lambert is looking forward

Rickie Lambert knows there is no room for sentiment in football and that he has to prove himself at Liverpool.

A summer switch to Anfield has returned Lambert to his roots and to the club he supported as a boy.

At 32 years of age, and having taken the scenic route back to Merseyside following his release as a youngster, there has been plenty of talk of fairytales for the England international.

Lambert, though, acknowledges that he has to show that he is deserving of a move to a potential Premier League title challenger and a side that is back in the UEFA Champions League.

He said in the Daily Star of a journey that has taken him full circle and has included stints at the likes of Macclesfield, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers: "It's a good story but I think the time has gone past that now.

"The first game of the season is coming (against former employers Southampton), and believe me when I say that is all I am focusing on.

"I want to get myself in the best shape possible. I know when I am fully fit, that is when you will see the best of me.

"I said how much it means to me being a Liverpool fan and how a lot of Liverpool fans will like the idea of signing a Scouser and a Liverpudlian.

\"But it was the simple fact that Brendan thought I was good enough to be a Liverpool player.

"It had no sentiment in it. Football has no place for sentimental things. As soon as you hold on to sentimental things it gets knocked out of you straight away.

"It's about what I do on the pitch, it's as simple as that, and I'm happy with that.

"I have to get picked, progress with the club and impress the manager. That's what matters.

"Obviously, when I look back over my career, I'll never forget my time at all my clubs, who mean a lot to me, but I'm thinking about what I do from now."

The first challenge for Lambert is to earn a starting berth, with it possible that Luis Suarez's departure could work in his favour, but the experienced frontman appreciates that it is a squad game and that he may not be the first name on the team sheet.

He added: "I'm 32, so the days of just being happy when I'm playing have gone. I'm looking at the bigger picture. It's whatever is best for the club.

"Of course, I don't want to be on the bench and not play games, but as long as I can see the manager appreciates me and my ability, then I'm happy to do whatever."