Liverpool striker Lambert confirms he was close to joining Aston Villa

Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert has admitted that he was close to leaving the club for Aston Villa on January transfer deadline day, has reported.

The 33-year-old only moved to his hometown club last summer in a £4m deal from Southampton, but it was widely reported on deadline day that he was on the brink of heading for the West Midlands, only to reject Villa’s advances.

He has found first-team opportunities hard to come by this season, making only five Premier League starts, but decided against joining Villa – who saw him as a potential solution to their goalscoring problems – due to a lack of thinking time, with a deal having been agreed between the two clubs.

“I wasn’t aware of any interest until deadline day”, said Lambert. “The deal was agreed, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough time to say ‘yes’ – to make a decision in the space of four or five hours for the next two-and-a-half-years. Not just for me, but for my family as well.

“It was something I just couldn’t do. It was too short notice. It was too big of a decision to make in the short amount of time I had. It was something that I would have probably looked back at a few years down the line and regretted if I had moved too early. It was very close but I just couldn’t do it.’

He is likely to be given his chance in the starting XI when Liverpool host Besiktas in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie on Thursday, having come on as a substitute last time out against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.

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