Rickie Lambert has backed Dejan Lovren after the centre half received stick from Saints fans during his Liverpool debut at the weekend, and said the board deserve scrutiny over the reasons for the summer departures as well as the players.

Both players moved from Saints to Liverpool, but their receptions were very different.

Lambert was given a hero’s welcome to Anfield from Saints fans at yesterday-s 2-1 defeat, while Lovren, who departed for £20m, was given abuse throughout.

Saints goalscoring hero Lambert has backed Lovren to recover from it and said the players have unfairly got all the stick for the summer of departures from St Mary’s.

“[Lovren'll] be okay," said Lambert.

"Obviously, a few of the players have took a bit of stick. They'll take it, that's football. It's been surprising that it's all been the players and none on the owners, which I have found a bit surprising.

"There's obviously a reason why the gaffer [Pochettino] went and I think that was the moment that it became clear to the players what the ambition of the club was going to be."

He added: “I love Southampton fans, I've got a good relationship with them, so it was nice that they acknowledged me in the way they did," the England man enthused.

"I tried to acknowledge them back in the same manner, the same kind of respect. I've got nothing but respect for Southampton, the players and the fans."