Former Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert has spoken out regarding the joy he felt after seeing former teammate and countryman Jordan Henderson lift the Champions League following their European triumph in Madrid back in June.
The former Anfield hero who made 11 international caps for his country was delighted to see some of his former team-mates enjoy such unrivalled success in the previous two seasons – most notably club-captain Jordan Henderson and another fellow former Saints star Adam Lallana.
The Kop fan was in Madrid when Liverpool claimed a sixth European Cup back in June and he couldn’t hide the emotion at seeing two of his close friends crowned continental kings.
Speaking with Liverpoolfc.com, he said: “It was always going to be a little bit difficult taking over the reins from Stevie G. I thought he handled it brilliantly; he just kept his head down, came through it better, stronger and more determined.
“To see him lift the European Cup made me a little bit emotional.
Lambert, 37, signed for his boyhood club in the summer of 2014 for £4m [BBC Sport] after agreeing to join Liverpool from Southampton.
The former England international played just one full campaign at Anfield in what was to be Brendan Rodgers’ final full season at the club as they finished sixth in the table. Lambert clocked up 36 appearances for the club that released him as a teenager scoring three goals and registering a solitary assist.
Lambert despite being a fan favourite amongst the supporters considering his Liverpool routes failed to make an impact at Anfield and his signing at the club was one of many reasons why Rodgers wasn’t trusted to oversee FSG’s transitional period at the club.
Fast forward five years and Jurgen Klopp’s European champions are currently on course to claim their first league title in 30 years.
The English champions-elect are unbeaten in 42 league games and have a 22-point lead over current holders Manchester City.
Liverpool have made the strongest start seen not only in the Premier League era but in top-flight history across England, France, Germany, Italy or Spain. With more than a third of the season still to go, the Reds have already racked up two more league wins than Manchester United’s treble-winning team of 1999.
It’s unbelievable what’s happening,” said Lambert, who retired from professional football in 2017.
“I can’t believe the levels they’re getting to, I’ve never seen it before. To see the Reds doing it this year has been unbelievable.”
“The city is buzzing. My household is buzzing. It has been brilliant to see.
“A few of the lads who were there in my time are still there and to see them doing so well, it’s absolutely superb. I’m made up for them.
“The work-rate they are going through is incredible.
“I cannot believe the levels they are getting to; I know what it’s like to play in the Premier League and to see any team get to those levels, I’ve never seen it before. I’m made up.”
Lambert may not have been at the club to personally witness Klopp’s transformative period at the club but the former Bristol Rovers striker is very aware at just how influential the German manager has been since he replaced Rodgers in October 2015.
“It’s the belief installed through Klopp, it’s the rules and standards that Klopp has put in that the players have taken on board and probably raised it even more with the characters he has been able to bring in,” said the striker who netted three times for the Reds before leaving for West Brom.
“There are a few managers within the team who push the standards on or don’t let the standards drop. And all the players are on form. The camaraderie between them is spot on.
“When everything like that comes together you see something unbelievable – and that’s what we’re seeing right now.
“I’ve been in good teams where the camaraderie is well and it helps, you stay to the standards. But to see these standards getting hit by these lads is incredible.”