• Liverpool's manager praises late-developing striker
• Victor Moses called up to face Southampton
Brendan Rodgers believes Rickie Lambert's development into a full England international aged 31 shows that clubs are too quick to throw young British talent "to the garbage".
Lambert is expected to lead the Southampton attack against Liverpool on Saturday having recently become the first player since Peter Taylor in 1976 to score on his first two appearances for England. The striker worked his way up the leagues having been released by Liverpool, his boyhood team, as a 15-year-old. And while Rodgers accepts there may have been good reason for Lambert's release – Liverpool's first team contained Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen at the time – he sees the decision as symptomatic of the British game's tendency to overlook long-term potential.
"I think Rickie is a terrific player," the Liverpool manager said. "People look back now and say it was a mistake to let him go but there may have been something that was a factor. Rickie may not have been interested in football at the time or there may have been something else in his life. He just might not have been ready for what Liverpool was about at that time but there is absolutely no doubt within development that it cannot just be about what the player is now.
"With young talent you always have to look at what they could be. You see so many young British players who are thrown to the garbage because they are not strong or they are not quick at 12 years of age when they are going through growth spurts. Yet when they grow up they are as tall as anyone.
"The emphasis at the younger age should be on technique and for me Rickie Lambert, at whatever age he left here, must have been technically very good because he has still got that. If you are at an academy and have a young player in your system, it is not just about what he can do now it is what he can do later on."
Rodgers joined the congratulations for Lambert when the former Blackpool, Macclesfield Town, Stockport County, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers striker made his match-winning England debut against Scotland. The Liverpool manager revealed: "I sent him a fax when he made his England debut because I know he is a big red. I sent it on behalf of the club and all Kopites. He is a Kirkby boy and I was just wishing him well and saying we were all proud of him playing for England. Hopefully now he won't score against us."
The Premier League leaders will be without Philippe Coutinho against Southampton after he underwent surgery on a shoulder injury on Thursday. With Luis Suarez serving the final game of a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, Liverpool will look to loan signing Victor Moses to provide a creative spark on his Anfield debut.
"We didn't show an interest in Victor until late in the window when it looked like Chelsea were getting Willian and there would be some of their players not playing," said Rodgers. "We thought he would be someone who could be really good for us. He plays consistently, he is fit and strong and hungry and the great thing was that, given all the interest he had, he only wanted to come here. That told me that he is type of player I want here."