DIFFERENT GRAVY Liverpool vs Arsenal: Salah and Aubameyang are good, but Fowler was 'God'
Aug. 23, 2019
Liverpool have had plenty of heroes over the years, but only one player is affectionately known as ‘God’.
Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher are club legends, while Mohamed Salah is a real fans favourite from the current squad.
However, it is Robbie Fowler who remains untouchable when it comes to the red half of Merseyside.
It was August 28, 1994 the day Fowler wrote himself into Anfield folklore with a stunning individual display at the age of just 19.
Scoring a hat-trick in the Premier League is an impressive enough feat, to do so against the division’s most formidable defence (Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Tony Adams and Nigel Winterburn, alongside David Seaman in goal) was almost unheard of.
But Fowler did just that, in four minutes and 33 seconds to be precise – the quickest treble scored in England’s top-flight up until current Red Sadio Mane surpassed it for Southampton three years ago.
Liverpool had begun the 1994/95 season with a comprehensive 6-1 win away to Crystal Palace, but their display against Arsenal was even more impressive.
With the scores still level at Anfield, Fowler took matters into his own hands just before the half hour.
A Jamie Redknapp free-kick from the right-hand side caused mayhem among the Gunners’ defence and after Keown failed to clear, Fowler capitalised.
Just two minutes later, Liverpool and Fowler had their second. Steve McManaman’s pass was inch perfect and Fowler did the rest, finishing beyond Seaman at his far post with the help of the woodwork.
At the other end Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell were denied by David James, as Arsenal sought a response, but Liverpool would soon add a third.
A John Barnes’ ball over the top caught the Arsenal backline off guard and found Fowler, who after having his initial shot saved, completed his treble inside five minutes from a tight angle.
“That third goal showed what Robbie was all about,” Barnes recalled during an interview with The Guardian .
“After the ‘keeper saved the first shot, he didn’t snatch at the ball or look to play it across the box. Instead he showed composure and a total lack of panic or fear.
“That is the mark of all great strikers. Robbie proved that was exactly what he was.”
For Fowler, it was a sign of things to come. He would go on to become Liverpool’s sixth all-time top scorer with 183 goals in 369 appearances over two spells.
It was upon Fowler’s return to Anfield in 2006 when Craig Lindfield first met the historic striker.
Lindfield was once regarded as one of Liverpool’s brightest young talents and grew up idolising Fowler.
So he was in dreamland when he played alongside the man and scored – from a Fowler assist nonetheless – on his senior debut for the club in a pre-season friendly against Crewe in July of that year.
Speaking to talkSPORT.com , the 30-year-old expressed his admiration for the club legend.
“It gave the fans a massive lift when Robbie came back to the club,” said Lindfield, who left Liverpool in 2009 after numerous loan spells.
“I remember how much of a shock it was to be named in the team that day – I really didn’t expect it.
“Before the game Robbie had a chat with me and told me to relax and enjoy the game.
“To score the winner that day was an amazing enough feeling, but for him to tee me up for it was extra special.
“He wasn’t the quickest player by any stretch of the imagination, but his movement on and off the ball was just incredible.
“I used to regularly see him stay out doing drills after training, for me there hasn’t been a better natural finisher in the Premier League – he was different class.”
Fowler is the seventh highest goalscorer (163 goals) in Premier League history.
The 44-year-old is now the manager of Australian A-League club Brisbane Roar – and that has come as no surprise to Lindfield.
“You always felt Robbie could go on and have a good career in management,” he explained.
“From the way he was in those days I’d think he’s be more of an arm round the shoulder type of manager to get the best out of his players – as opposed to raising his voice.
“He’s the type of person who gives you the confidence to go out and play with a sense of freedom and attacking fair.”
TIMELINE OF ROBBIE FOWLER'S FOUR-MINUTE HAT-TRICK 26th minute: Jamie Redknapp’s inviting free-kick bounces off Ian Rush and after Martin Keown fails to deal with the danger the ball falls invitingly to Robbie Fowler, who thumps the ball home emphatically inside the penalty box. Andy Gray on Sky: “They got a bit of luck there, Liverpool. But when it dropped to Fowler, on that left foot, was there ever going to be any end product but the net bulging? He doesn’t miss them.” 29th minute: A defence-splitting attack sees Steve McManaman embark on a lung-busting 60-yard run. As the winger approaches the area, Fowler starts to peel away from Lee Dixon. The striker still has plenty of work to do, but tees himself up perfectly before beating David Seaman at his far post via the woodwark. Martin Tyler on Sky: “McManaman… Fowler, making a yard for himself… Is it going in? It is! Two in two minutes from Robbie Fowler and they’re going crazy here at Anfield!” 31st minute: John Barnes plays a neat one-two with Stig-Inge Bjornebye just inside Arsenal’s half and catches Fowler on the move. Barnes delivers an expertly lofted ball, and the rest is history as Anfield erupts! Martin Tyler: “And he’s away again here! Is this going to be the hat-trick?… It is!” Andy Gray: “That’s incredible! How’s that for a cool head? Unbelievable stuff from Liverpool! Unbelievable stuff from Robbie Fowler!”
On Saturday, both sides will run out at Anfield boasting some of the Premier League’s most potent attacks.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are set to lead the line for Arsenal, while Jurgen Klopp will field his formidable trio of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Mane.
A Premier League and Liverpool great, Fowler has certainly set the standard for today’s strikers.
But there will only ever be one Robbie Fowler. And that will never change.
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Liverpool vs Arsenal on Saturday evening (kick-off 5:30pm), with Clive Tyldesley and Sam Allardyce on duty for us at Anfield.
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