Liverpool hero Robbie Fowler loved scoring goals against Arsenal and even when he didn’t he won awards and got Jason McAteer a TV advert April 3, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
Liverpool hero Robbie Fowler just loved scoring against Arsenal.
The Toxeth-born striker had a nose for goal. He was like a moth to a flame when it came to finding the back of the net.
The Gunners, more often than not, were the victims of his incredible instincts in front of goal.
Fowler faced the north London side 23 times in his career and notched 14 times in all competitions, including two hat-tricks. The first of these has gone into the history books.
“It was then that the God nickname began to stick,” Fowler said in his autobiography. “My life had already changed but it gathered pace after that.”
True enough. His breakout campaign in 1993/94 saw him delight the Kop with 18 goals and 34 appearances.
His second season would be vital, or he would risk being branded a one-season wonder. After matchday three, there was no reason to even question whether he was a bonafide superstar or not.
Fowler hit Arsenal with a hat-trick in just four minutes and 33 seconds during the first half.
A teammate that day, John Barnes said in the book, You Can’t Win Anything With Kids: A History of the English Premier League: “We all knew how good Robbie was but after that hat-trick everyone else took notice as well. For a player so young to do that to Arsenal was incredible; at that time, if you scored once against them you didn’t score two and three. But Robbie did, and in no time at all. He announced his arrival to the Premier League that day.”
“That third goal showed what Robbie was all about,” added Barnes. “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.”
Andy Gray was doing commentary on the clash and very much agreed. “That is incredible,” the ex-Everton forward said. “What a cool head.”
After the match, Fowler humbly told Sky Sports: “I was knackered at one stage. I just had three chances and the three of them just seemed to go in.”
“He was always one of those guys who scored passed me” admitted the legendary goalkeeper. “I would make a save and he would always be there for the tap it.
“He was on fire that day, and a certain Mr Keown didn’t cover himself in glory – always blame the defenders!
“When you watch Robbie, sometimes he would have no backlift and that’s what would catch you out as a goalkeeper. You couldn’t really tell when he was going to shoot.
“For his second goal, he half miss-hit the ball through Dicko’s legs [Lee Dixon], it hit the post and went in!
“Then for his third, he suddenly got through one-no-one and I thought it’d made a great save, but then all of a sudden Martin came clattering into us both, the ball ricochets off him and fell lovely for Robbie to tap it in.
“A hat-trick in four and a half minutes, it’s not something I’ll tell the grandkids!”
But even when he didn’t score against the Gunners, Fowler made headlines.
In March 1997, with Liverpool leading 1-0 thanks to an effort from Stan Collymore, Fowler dashed through on goal and tumbled when hurdling Seaman. Referee Gerald Ashby pointed to the spot without hesitating.
The striker could be seen on TV immediately saying ‘no, ref’ while waving his hand, insisting his rival was innocent. Ashby wouldn’t listen.
Fowler said: “I just remember getting up and seeing David Seaman. There was all the talk of ‘did he dive or didn’t he’ but I just lost momentum when I jumped over him and fell over.
“It wasn’t a penalty and because he was my mate from the England side, I just said it wasn’t a pen. I don’t think there were too many happy Liverpool fans or too many happy Liverpool management on the bench.”
According to Fowler three good things did come out of the incident.
“I helped Jason McAteer score his first ever Liverpool goal and I got a fair play certificate from UEFA so it was not a bad day – and we ended up with the [2-1] win as well,” he said.
But he rejects claims he intended for Seaman to save and hold onto his shot from the resulting spot-kick, which allowed McAteer to thump home.
He added: “I didn’t miss the penalty on purpose, it was just a bad penalty but they all are when you don’t score them.”
That certificate is now pride of place at Chez Fowler and he also reckoned McAteer got to be the star of a Wash and Go advert on the back of it.
It really was a good day for Fowler – it normally was against Arsenal.