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Robbie Fowler
Gender Male
Ethnic English
Job English Footballer
Desc One of the most ruthless goalscorers the Premier League has ever seen. 120 goals in just 236 league appearances in his first stint at Liverpool, before more troubled spells Leeds, Manchester City and Blackburn. No matter. You do not earn the only semi-ironic nickname ‘God’ for no reason

Affiliation

Club as Coach Brisbane Roar
Club as Player Blackburn Rovers
  Manchester City
  Leeds United
  Liverpool FC

Relationship

Coach Gerard Houllier
Teammate Michael Owen

2016 12 05 Retrieve

[The Reds face Los Blancos in a charity match on March 25 at Anfield] We’re really looking forward to playing Real Madrid next spring. We hope to put on a really good show for our fans in the first legends game held at Anfield, while raising funds for the Liverpool FC Foundation

2019 06 02 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler believes Liverpool’s Champions League victory will lead to more silverware under manager Jurgen Klopp] Liverpool are well and truly back on the world stage, it will only snowball, and grow even more. Taking that step, getting over the line for the first time with a real piece of silverware is massive. It’s the process all sides must go through, a fundamental experience on the path to being an elite-level side. People look at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, and they see the cabinet full of silverware as confirmation they were always winners. But they had to lose the title, painfully, before they got over the line. Liverpool have been the same.

They are a growing team, a young team that is still learning and still lacks experience. You could see that in the nerves they clearly displayed in what was a poor first half. Their inexperience told last year in the final. Real Madrid just had too much knowledge for them in the end. Once Mo Salah was injured, they didn’t have the experience to deal with it. It’s a process. A painful one at times. Yet they came back. They came all the way to Madrid, for another Champions League final, and another step on the way. A step that takes them into that group at the very summit of the world game.

Liverpool have a side that is already at the top, and will only get better. The prospect is slightly frightening. They’ve finished second with 97 points, swept the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona aside to get back into the final and are still nowhere near the height of their potential. Winning a trophy unlocks that potential

When Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005, when we lost it in 2007, I don’t think there was quite the sense that the club was on the verge of something like it is now. With Jurgen Klopp there for at least three more years and none of his stars likely to leave, they will grow, no doubt

2019 08 11 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler says Harry Maguire and David Luiz are the two best transfers of the summer window] For me, it’s no coincidence that, in the past couple of years, first Pep Guardiola at Manchester City then Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, splashed a huge amount of cash on defenders. Pep seems to be hoarding full-backs like they’ll be discontinued. It has worked. He transformed City from a side that could score for fun, but couldn’t defend, into one that still scores for fun, but now doesn’t concede many. In fact, last season the only team which conceded fewer was Liverpool - and, given they spent £150m on a keeper and centre-back, then that was no surprise to me.

This time around, a couple of clubs have followed that lead and that makes me believe they may just have done the best individual deals in the window. Harry Maguire will come as no surprise as my top pick for the best buy. I know it was a crazy amount of money, but I don’t go with the idea Manchester United ­overpaid. What does that even mean? If you need a player, you pay what you can and what it takes to get him. United desperately needed a top ­centre-back … and they’ve got him. So the money doesn’t matter, getting the player does. The same was said about Liverpool and Virgil van Dijk last season. Doesn’t look like silly money now, though, does it? United had to pay whatever it took to get Maguire and, for me, he can transform their ­defence in the same way.

My other ‘best buy’ of the window comes in the bargain section and the plaudits go to Arsenal for signing David Luiz. Yes, I know there are detractors, I know so many people don’t rate him. But £8m for a Brazil international ­defender who’s won the ­Premier League, Champions League, two Europa Leagues and two French leagues along with a Confederations Cup? That’s a steal for that sort of experience. I think Arsenal may just have got the best of this window. They’ve got some exciting ­attacking players and also brought in Kieran Tierney for a decent price. Again, they ­desperately needed defenders and now they have two with pedigree.

2019 09 09 Retrieve

[Reds legend Robbie Fowler says Mohamed Salah will continue to show a selfish streak at Liverpool and should make no apologies for it] I’ve ­honestly never heard such nonsense as the stuff that has surrounded this so-called spat between Sadio Mane and Mo Salah. Everyone commenting and talking nonsense about being ‘greedy’ or destroying team spirit, have they never watched football before? Because you can’t be a ­top-class goalscorer without total belief you will score. That’s what goalscorers do. They train for it, their whole week on the ­training ground is spent practising, visualising, working out how to score for every position and the best always believe they can score - from five yards, from 20, from 40. Wherever. Even if it’s easier to pass for a tap-in.

I look at Salah’s record and it tells me he’s going to keep doing it. You don’t score that many goals without being what people say is selfish. But what the hell do people want? Do they want him to be a goalscorer or do they want him to be someone who’s always looking to pass? You can’t really have both. And the other ­nonsense I’ve heard is people saying he’s not passing ­because he’s ­jealous, he doesn’t want Mane to score.

If anyone can slow down the game so much they have time to think, ‘Oh, I’m not passing to him because he’s scored more than me’, well they’re the best who’s ever played. Yes, Salah can be ­selfish when he sees the goal, but, to me, that makes him a great goalscorer. And it’s not as if he doesn’t create chances for others. Mane knows that, and what he did was just frustration at being taken off

2019 09 10 Retrieve

[Selfish Salah? No-one was complaining after Arsenal wonder-strike] You don’t score that many goals without being what people say is ‘selfish’. But what the hell do people want? Do they want him to be a goalscorer or do they want him to be someone who’s always looking to pass? You can’t really have both

You can’t be a top-class goalscorer without that total belief that you will score

2019 09 16 Retrieve

[Sadio Mane insists his public falling out with Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah has been forgotten. Reds legend Robbie Fowler claims that being a little self-centred is all part of prolific goalscorer’s make up] I’ve ­honestly never heard such nonsense as the stuff that has surrounded this so-called spat between Sadio Mane and Mo Salah. Everyone commenting and talking nonsense about being ‘greedy’ or destroying team spirit, have they never watched football before? Because you can’t be a ­top-class goalscorer without total belief you will score. That’s what goalscorers do. They train for it, their whole week on the ­training ground is spent practising, visualising, working out how to score for every position and the best always believe they can score - from five yards, from 20, from 40. Wherever. Even if it’s easier to pass for a tap-in. I look at Salah’s record and it tells me he’s going to keep doing it

2019 10 13 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says Jurgen Klopp turned down Manchester United because he believed the club was too commercially motivated] I did an interview with him a couple of years ago and he told me he turned down a couple of super-rich clubs after Dortmund - one of them was definitely ­Manchester United, the other probably Real Madrid - because he hated how they were focused solely on ­commercial influences. He said he liked Liverpool because they had a balance between the money needed to reach the top and the history and identity of the club and their fans. He also said he backed himself to make Anfield great again, even without the riches of the super-elite in world football - that he could do it another way. He’s not there yet, but he has certainly given Liverpool fans their ­belief back - and their pride, too. I have witnessed that

[Klopp has led Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table this season] He gets what Liverpool is about. He gets what the ­people of the city are. Most importantly, he gets what it means to people to have that joy in their life. I’m not saying he’s not a disciplinarian. That image of him laughing all the time is not true - I’ve seen him deal with players in the past and he’s as tough as they come. But he has heart, too. He does all the tactical stuff, is hugely sophisticated in game plans, science, analysis, but his man-­management sets him apart. I’ve been in and around that club and I can see that Klopp is liked by everyone there

2019 10 26 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler speaks about waking up in the early hours to watch his beloved Liverpool] I’m not a great sleeper anyway so I actually stayed up and watched it. It’s what you do with football isn’t it?

2019 11 13 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler doesn’t want Steven Gerrard to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Anfield any time soon, predicting that the current boss can still take the club to new heights] You can never say never in football, and Steven is doing a wonderful job up at Rangers. You’ve got to ask the question, are they a better team now since he took over? Of course they are, they really are. Will he want to leave and go back to the Premier League? No doubt about it and in the future, he probably will do. He’s the name on everybody’s lips should Liverpool be looking for a new manager, but as far as I’m concerned I don’t want them to be looking for a new manager. I want Jurgen to stay for a long time because if he stays for a long time it means Liverpool as a club are successful. So all the talk about should Steven be there, of course, he’ll be the name on everyone’s lips, but I hope it’s not for a long time

[On the significant progress Liverpool have made recently under Klopp’s stewardship] You’ve got to give Jurgen so much credit, Liverpool are just brilliant. He’s got them fit and on fire, they just look an incredible team. And people are saying they’re watching great performances, but Liverpool haven’t really reached the heights of what they can do - it’s a scary thought!

2019 11 13b Retrieve

[Former England striker Robbie Fowler has admitted he never felt completely comfortable playing for the national team] If I’m being totally honest, had I played more games for England I might have a different feeling. I just never felt part of an England set-up because I never really played. I was a passionate player and I wanted to play all the time. Ultimately, because I wasn’t a regular I wanted to get back to Liverpool as soon as possible and play with them. I was comfortable there and knew I was playing

With international football you’re playing and training with your rivals, but you’ve got to be sensible enough to know that we’re all here doing the same job. I never really was uncomfortable playing for England because I never really played and I never really felt proud of it, but I never once turned up thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t stand these Manchester United or Chelsea players’. Ok, they weren’t my big massive mates, but I appreciated the good football we played and that they were good people

2019 11 14 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says Liverpool did not bring in another playmaker after the departure of Philippe Coutinho because Jurgen Klopp didn’t really want to replace him] He didn’t really want to replace him, he wanted different types of players who he felt would benefit Liverpool more, players who have maybe a better work ethic. That’s just the route he’s gone down and I think you’ve got to give him so much credit, Jurgen

[Klopp’s side are currently eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table, but Fowler is not getting swept up in the talk of a 30-year wait for domestic glory coming to a close] There’s a long way to go. The cliches in football are there are many games and many points to be had. But the way Liverpool are playing, they are just brilliant. When you think of football last year in the Premier League, Liverpool had one problem which was Man City. Liverpool were so good last year and obviously the problem Man City have this year is Liverpool. Liverpool are incredible. People are saying we’re watching performances but they haven’t really reached the heights of what they can do, and that’s a scary thought. I think he’s got them fit, he’s got them firing and they just look an incredible team

2019 11 15 Retrieve

[Sir Alex Ferguson once talked of knocking the Liver bird off its perch as he plotted Manchester United’s domination of the title race for two decades] It’s not just a question of reclaiming its place on the perch Fergie talked about - the Liver bird is soaring. For the generation of fans who have never seen Liverpool win the title, there is a sense that Jurgen Klopp is giving the club its pride back

To reach the Champions League final two years running is not down to luck. You don’t come back from a three-goal deficit against Barcelona in a semi-final by just hoping the noise of Anfield will frighten them and the cards will fall your way

He knows what he is doing. He understands the touchstone for success is straight from Bill Shankly’s philosophy: He wants to make the people happy. That means playing the right way - whether it’s called rock and roll football, heavy metal football or whatever - with a work ethic that gives his team a realistic chance of winning. He recognises that success on the pitch has to be earned and is not a God-given right

Liverpool have always won stuff, or been in contention for trophies, but when you think of the Klopp era - and how close they came to the title last season - all of a sudden it makes you realise that when I played, we never really came close. Now they have a genuine chance of being champions for the first time in 30 years. It’s not over by a long chalk - there are 26 games to go - but eight points is a big gap. This is Liverpool’s time

[He does not regard his assignment Down Under as a stepping stone to bigger things back home, but why shouldn’t he aim to become Liverpool manager one day?] I was always a confident lad on the football field, I always believed I was better than everyone else. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and between them, my family and the Liverpool coaching staff would never have allowed me to walk the wrong side of the line. But I have the same passion for the game now that I had as a striker - and that passion makes me want to be the best at whatever I do

If I’m going to be successful as a coach or manager, I’m aiming for the top - and right now, the top means Liverpool […] but I don’t think Jurgen has any plans to go somewhere else any time soon

2019 11 16 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says Liverpool are soaring above the perch former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson took great satisfaction in knocking them from] It’s not just a question of reclaiming its place on the perch Fergie talked about - the Liver bird is soaring. For the generation of fans who have never seen Liverpool win the title, there is a sense that Jurgen is giving the club its pride back. To reach the Champions League final two years running is not down to luck. You don’t come back from a three-goal deficit against Barcelona in a semi-final by just hoping the noise of Anfield will frighten them and the cards will fall your way.

He knows what he is doing. He understands the touchstone for success is straight from Bill Shankly’s philosophy: He wants to make the people happy. That means playing the right way - whether it’s called rock and roll football, heavy metal football or whatever - with a work ethic that gives his team a realistic chance of winning. He recognises that success on the pitch has to be earned and is not a God-given right.

Liverpool have always won stuff, or been in contention for trophies, but when you think of the Klopp era - and how close they came to the title last season - all of a sudden it makes you realise that when I played, we never really came close. Now they have a genuine chance of being champions for the first time in 30 years. It’s not over by a long chalk - there are 26 games to go - but eight points is a big gap. This is Liverpool’s time

2019 12 16 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says Liverpool will not be heading down the same route as Manchester United after tying Jurgen Klopp to a new contract] It is so huge that he’s signed a new contract with Liverpool. I think everyone assumed he would do seven years and then take a break in 2022. So to get him for another two years after that is massive. It’s big for many reasons.

For a start, what a season to get such a lift in. It’s like the club signing one of the best players in the world - because he’s right up there at the very top. He is also a competitor. He inherited a pretty poor team at Anfield - there are only a handful of them left. But he got to two finals in his first season, in the top four in the second, then a ­Champions League final. Every year they get better and there’s no sign of it stopping. That’s a real competitor. The two extra years, though, are a massive bonus for the club because it offers continuity. This team is so exciting, there’s a reason they’re huge favourites for the title.

Yet there will come a time when it needs to be refreshed and rebuilt a little. They’re all at peak age - or heading ­towards their peak - but, in two or three years’ time, some will move on. To have Klopp overseeing that will mean there’s no chance of handing over like Sir Alex Ferguson did - an ageing team that needed some surgery. Klopp hasn’t signed on for longer for that reason though. He’s done it ­because he has the balls to back himself. He knows he has a fabulous team, that they can get better and he wants to take them further. You can tell he loves his job. He’ll want to win the title this season and I know for sure that will be the target, even ahead of the Champions League. But he’ll want that to be the start, he’ll want more.

Klopp has won ­without ever being at the biggest club in his league or spending massive amounts of money. Now he’s at a club who back him, who will buy into him. He will believe it’s just the start

2020 01 26 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be fired if the club fail to beat Tranmere Rovers in their FA Cup fourth round clash] There’s no escaping the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job is on the line at Tranmere. As a manager myself, it’s a strange feeling addressing such a difficult situation from the opposite side. But it’s a reality for most bosses out there - there are moments which define your job. He’s under massive pressure and if he plays a weakened team against a lower league side and gets beaten, then it is a nail in his own coffin. Of course, Manchester United should win. But pressure has such a strange effect on a team - it can be debilitating

There are so many elements that are against them [Manchester United]. The pitch at Prenton Park is awful - they’ve had some terrible weather conditions and that has created a bit of a mud bath. There’s that pressure, there will be the tension of the crowd and a lower league team that will be absolutely up for it. If he [Solskjaer] gambles with his line-up, he will be gambling with his job

2020 02 18 Retrieve

[Fowler ready to join Gerrard in race for Liverpool job but hopes Klopp ‘stays forever’] I want to manage in the Premier League and I want Tony [Grant] to come with me as part of my team in the Premier League. I don’t think I can be any broader than that

I’d settle for Liverpool first! But obviously I want Jurgen to stay there forever because he’s brilliant

[Quizzed on whether he believes the Reds can negotiate an entire campaign unbeaten] I think they can. Will they? I don’t know. Am I bothered? Probably not so much actually! I want them to win the league, that’s the be-all and end-all for me. Will Jurgen want them to go unbeaten? Of course he will because he’s a manger that demands the best out of every player, every game. Of course he’ll have the players believing in themselves, they’ll have that confidence instilled in them and they’ll believe they can. Will they? I hope they will but it doesn’t matter if they don’t. They’re still the best team

2020 03 08 Retrieve

[No sympathy for Gerrard at Rangers, he doesn’t need it] Nothing should surprise me in football any more, but my mate Steven Gerrard ­supposedly under pressure at Rangers? C’mon! Social media has much to answer for when it comes to some of the nonsense that is being spouted these days. I see lots of people who are clever and understand the game, but also a helluva lot of people who simply don’t have a clue. Even from a distance, I can sniff out the rubbish. Like the suggestion he’s lost the players. Absolute rubbish. Honestly. I don’t have to speak to him to know that’s wrong, hopelessly wrong. I watched how Rangers played against Braga in the last round of the Europa League and I could see a team that has got every ounce of belief in what the ­boss is doing. They have clearly bought into what he wants. The performances in Europe have been outstanding - and maybe they are paying the penalty for that a little in the league

2020 03 15 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says Liverpool deserve title for greatest season in top-flight history] I don’t think there’s a fan in the ­country who doesn’t recognise that ­Liverpool deserve to be champions, that they are effectively the Premier League winners already. And I don’t think there are many - even the most bitter of rival fans - who would argue that, if the football season were to end now, they shouldn’t be given the trophy as clear winners of the competition. Yet winning the title in such circumstances would tarnish the triumph somehow. No doubt. I played through a large part of those 30 years when Liverpool were desperately trying to bring another league trophy home, so I know how much it means. Every year that went by, the ­pressure got greater, the talk louder, the fans more desperate. It means so much … just not life and death.

For anyone arguing that ­Liverpool SHOULDN’T be champions, if the season isn’t completed, then look at their record. They’ve dropped five points all season. FIVE. Hell, I once scored 16 goals in a game for a schoolboy team I played in - got more than 100 goals in total if I remember correctly - and yet I’m pretty sure we dropped more than five points that season. They are the worthiest of champions. It’s the greatest ­season ever in top-flight English ­football history. They are record-breakers, and they are arguably the best team to have won the Premier League. And, yep, I’m saying they’ve won it. They need two more wins to ­confirm it, but the reality is that, if City were to lose two more between now and the theoretical end of the season, the points Liverpool have now would be enough

2020 04 13 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says Liverpool’s owners cleaning up their own mess] Liverpool got to the right decision on how to treat their non-playing staff - eventually - but while there is merit in arguing that the Fenway Sports Group should not have put themselves into such an invidious position in the first place, it is also important to recognise that they acted swiftly to put it right. Everyone loves to play the blame game and one-upmanship has become a way of life, but I hope people realise that there is no handbook to turn to during this kind of crisis. There is no one at any football club in the world able to call on experience of how to deal with an issue that affects both health, mental and economic well-being. Liverpool should have been aware that the furlough and job retention measures were designed to help small firms come through the crisis. They weren’t designed to enable a Premier League football club with an annual turnover of more than £500 million and profits of £42m to weather a financial storm. So I’m not going to pat my former club on the back for something that should have come naturally, but neither am I going to keep using the mistake as a stick to beat them with. I know some will say I am bound to take this stance because I am an ex-Liverpool player, but we all have dirt on our shoes. The key is wiping your feet before you enter the front door. Liverpool’s owners got some mud on the carpet - but at least they have made a start in cleaning up the mess

2020 04 20 Retrieve

[Liverpool legend Fowler says Pogba could be a better player if he watched Souness] He isn’t afraid to say what he really thinks when asked to give an opinion on anything and everything he sees through eyes that have witnessed pretty much all in the game over the past six decades. So if anyone is qualified to talk about Paul Pogba and what the Frenchman needs to do to become a better player, then it’s Souey. My advice to Paul would be to listen to what he’s got to say and then ask yourself if he’s got a point. You might just end up becoming better for it. I was disappointed to hear the Manchester United midfielder slap down my former Liverpool boss by saying he doesn’t even know who the outspoken Scottish guy in the studio is. If he doesn’t then perhaps he should do a bit of background. He’d discover that this is a man who won five league titles and three European Cups with Liverpool

Souey has walked the walk. Now he’s talking the talk. I know how it feels to be criticised in the media. It isn’t supposed to be personal, but it’s a rotten experience when someone is calling you out in front of millions of people. Like it or not, it comes with the territory of the game. I can assure Pogba that when Graeme is assessing his performances in the TV studio he will be doing it through cold, calculating eyes. He will see a player who is hugely talented, a player who has lifted football’s ultimate prize, but, ultimately, a footballer who hasn’t been fulfilling his potential when wearing a United shirt. And that will frustrate the hell out of Graeme Souness. What is encouraging is that Pogba is obviously aware from his comments that he has something to prove. Hopefully, when we return to some kind of normality, he will show us all what he can do

2020 04 24 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool defender Dominic Matteo announces recovery from brain tumour] Great news Dom, so pleased for you and all family

2020 04 26 Retrieve

[Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has said that football must not turn on itself when the coronavirus crisis ends] There are no black-and-white decisions, only shades of what’s right and wrong. I even feel guilty for just thinking about sport during the current health crisis. But conversations have to take place now about what the future will bring - and that includes how we eventually get back to playing and watching.

Voiding the season would lead to all kinds of legal challenges - and so would any attempt to rule that league tables should stand from the date the lockdown came

I hope that everyone ­accepts when a decision is made it has the best interests of football at heart. The last thing we need once the health crisis is over is for football to be plunged into a civil war that will take the game into the courts. We need to remember what’s really important.

[Fowler has warned fans, however, not to expect to be able to cheer on their sides in a live environment for a long time to come] What I am sure of is that football cannot afford to wait for when it’s safe for fans to return to stadiums. Mass gatherings will be the last thing the government ­allows once lockdown ­measures begin to be lifted. So it’s increasingly likely games must be played behind closed doors.

Is that ideal? Of course not. It goes against all my natural instincts. But it is the lesser of all the evils. Not least because I think watching football again will give millions of people something to look forward to in the months ahead.

Sports, hobbies and pastimes help us to stay sane. For many, they are a way of life. We can’t visit our families or friends, go to the cinema, shopping centre, gym or the pub. So, once the authorities believe it’s safe for players and officials to cross the white line again, it will give all who love the world’s most popular game a massive lift

2020 05 07 Retrieve

[Fowler ‘not playing around’ in Brisbane coaching hotseat] I wouldn’t say it was make-or-breakbut it wasn’t far off! I think people had a certain impression of me. And it wasn’t the right one

That was all I wanted - a chance. I feel like I was getting rid of a stigma, if you like. I was showing people how passionate and dedicated I am to my coaching career. If you go overseas for your first job like I have, you’re not playing around are you? I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I think it showed a bit of bollocks

[Fifteen new players were recruited, with a focus on attitude and mentality] It was a fresh start for everyone, not just us. We knew there were a lot of issues to sort out. We had to bring that winning mentality, get people pulling together and believing in what they were doing. We only played our fifth home game on January 11. When you’re trying to bed in a new team and new ideas, that’s far from ideal!

I knew we needed to build from the back. Which may have surprised a few people given I’m a striker. Since Christmas, our mentality has shone through. We’ve shot up the table, and we’ve handled the pressure. With only 11 teams in the league, it means that you play a lot of games against teams in and around you, so you know a defeat can see you fall down the table. That puts extra pressure on each game, but the lads have responded to that superbly.

Any time I asked the lads to deliver when there was a bit of pressure on us, they pulled it out. That tells me something about the character of this team.

My goalkeeper, Jamie Young, is another I would mention. His attitude is as good as anyone I’ve seen. I never played him at the start of the season. But what I loved was that he went away, worked on all the things I’d spoken to him about, and he became a better keeper. In the end, he got his chance six or seven games into the season, and he’s been absolutely outstanding. If I’m looking for an example to show to the players of what you need to do, how you need to train, your attitude, all that, then the likes of him, the likes of Tom, Scott, they’re the ones to look up to

[He admits that reading comments from Phil Moss, the president of Football Coaches Australia, stating he shouldn’t be appointed] What was laughable about that is that he’s an English fella who went over to Australia at a young age and got a job. Now he’s saying that clubs shouldn’t be appointing foreign coaches! But I’ve always had that. I’ve always had people writing things about me, all through my career. And I’ve always used that in terms of ‘I’m going to prove you wrong, I’m going to show you’. It’s no different as a manager to when I was a player

2020 05 08 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler on the art of goalscoring] Do you know what the best sound in football is? It’s the noise when the ball hits the back of the net. That sound, it’s just sheer satisfaction. That’s what I lived for. I absolutely love it. I can barely walk now, let alone run! But if I see a ball lying around, I can’t help myself. I have to smash it into the goal, I just have to. I need it. I need that sound. That’s what I wanted - to be the hero. It was always the buzz for me. It was why I wanted to play. I talk about the sound of the ball hitting the back of the net, that can be on the park or on the training field or in the back garden, but when it’s in a proper game and you see the goalkeeper scrambling across, trying to get there, and you know he can’t. That’s as good as it gets.

[How does Fowler himself see it?] You know, it used to be a bugbear of mine. They’d call me ‘natural’ as if I’d never had to work hard. But when you sit down and analyse it, it’s a massive, massive compliment, isn’t it? It’s natural, or it looks natural, because of the hours and hours and hours, the monotony of doing the same thing over and over again, the same drills, the same exercises. That’s what you’re trying to do, make it natural, so it comes easy and you don’t have to think about it. When people say I was a natural goalscorer now, I take it as a big compliment. I worked very hard to be ‘natural’

There was this metal gate around the field. And what I’d do, I’d drop-kick the ball with my right foot, over and over again until it felt comfortable. Then I’d put the ball on the floor, run up and strike it off my right, over and over again. It sounds boring doesn’t it? It was never boring for me. I wanted to do it. I wanted to get better. I love the saying ‘repetition, repetition’ repetition’ because it’s true. If you want to master something, you’ve got to work at it

I look at the goals I scored with my right foot, particularly early in my career, and it shows the benefits of hard work. The same with heading. I am only 5’9, but I scored a lot of headers. That came from the simplest of drills, throwing a ball up and jumping, throwing it against a wall and directing it. Working on timing and bravery, keeping your eyes open to meet it. Sometimes the old drills are the best ones!

I count myself very lucky. With Ian Rush, I saw what was needed to be a real top-class centre forward. It wasn’t a case of him taking me aside and teaching me the game. I’d see it on the training field every day. I’d see his runs, the way he anticipated things, the way he’d alter his finishes depending on the situation. To watch and learn from one of the best ever, it was a privilege. He would give me pointers, but it was usually the simplest of things. He’d talk about how to time your run, how to bend a run, how to get yourself out of the defender’s eyeline, shooting across the goalkeeper, through a defender’s legs so the keeper is unsighted. It sounds ridiculously simple, doesn’t it? But it’s not. People talk about goalscorers as selfish, and it’s true that you have to be in some situations, but so much of a centre-forward’s work is about creating space for others, dragging defenders out of position, making runs, stretching the game, always being on the move. Rushie was the master of that. I’d have been mad not to listen and take it in. If you can’t take advice from him, then you shouldn’t be in the game

[Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole, Ian Wright, Stan Collymore - his star shone as bright as any] It gives me pride to have been classed alongside those kind of players. I was a baby compared to them, wasn’t I? But I’ve always had this belief. I know what I can and can’t do, and I always had confidence. Let’s be honest, I wasn’t the same player throughout my career, but I always believed I could do it. I always felt I could score in any game

[Goal asks him to name his favourite strike] It’s a good question! I scored a lot of important goals in my career, goals which gave me an awful lot of satisfaction, but my best goal, people might not agree, was at Charlton in the last game of the 2000-01 season. It was the importance which made it. Everything we achieved that year, winning three cups, it just capped it all off by helping us get into the Champions League. Liverpool hadn’t been there for a few years, so it was a really big game for us. We’d won the FA Cup on the Saturday, the UEFA Cup on the Wednesday and we needed to win down at the Valley to get third place. We were poor in the first half and it was 0-0. Then after half time one dropped to me in the box off a corner, and I just sort of helped it over my shoulder and in. It was maybe not as spectacular as some others I scored, but it was a clever finish. After that we were comfortable. When I look back, I always love that goal.

[Does Fowler, a man with whom the No.9 shirt will forever be associated, lament this change in emphasis?] No, not at all. Formations and tactics may change, but some things never will. There will always be a place for players who can put the ball in the net. Who are the two best players in the world? And why? It’s because they score incredible amounts of goals, as much as anything else. [Robert] Lewandowski, [Harry] Kane, the same. No matter how the game changes, young kids will always want to be like those players, scoring goals and being the hero. That’s all I ever wanted, anyway!

2020 05 17 Retrieve

[Fowler: I’d be amazed if any Premier League footballers don’t want to play when competition resumes] I’ve been thinking about this ­question for some time. As a player, would I want to return when the Premier League resumes in June? As a manager, my choice is clear. When they say it is safe to resume with Brisbane Roar, I won’t have a second thought about leading the team. As a player, though, with the ­contact, the sweat and the closeness, would I be prepared to go out there? The answer is a resounding yes. Absolutely. And I’d go further - I’d ­genuinely be amazed if there are any Premier League ­footballers who don’t want to play. I’m not diminishing any fears because I have said all along they should only return when it feels safe to do so. Sure, players will have ­reservations, but I believe, when presented with all the evidence, they’ll want to play

They will be tested for coronavirus, maybe three times a week. But, on top of that, players already have regular blood tests to check their fitness markers. They wear heart monitors in training, they are weighed, they are examined, they have their ­oxygen levels, VO2 max levels, every level you can think of, tested all the time. And those tests will be stepped up. They are young and fit too, so not in the highly dangerous over-75 category. And when people speak about the risk of having vulnerable family members at home, again, the testing programme could help. If they are checked and there are signs of the virus, then they can isolate, away from those family members. Straight away

2020 06 01 Retrieve

[Former Blues striker Robbie Fowler hopes Blues get same trophy chance as Liverpool] People have spoken about getting football back again so Liverpool can be crowned champions, but I’d like to see City also get a shot at the Champions League. They have a wonderful team, and they won’t be afraid of any other side left in the competition. Not their round-of-16 opponents Real Madrid, not Barca, nor PSG.

I think there are real problems around ­getting the European games back on this season, even though it now seems the big four leagues in Europe will all resume their competitions. For a start, there’s the quarantine the UK Government wants to introduce. If people have to self-isolate when they come back from abroad, then that would mean teams not being able to play for at least a fortnight following any European trips. There are ways around it, I suspect. I reckon the only sensible thing to do with the Champions League is make it a tournament, in a neutral city, with a straight knock-out after the remaining games of the round of 16 are finished. You could finish it in 10 days, with the final at the end of it. The German league will have finished a little earlier, but the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A will all finish sometime in July. Play it then

2020 06 07 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler says RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner would not have been good enough for Liverpool] I’ve heard the noise ­surrounding Timo Werner in recent weeks - but I’m not a big fan. I realise he’s a talented player, he has moments of real brilliance in matches that underline his quality, but I stand by this: is Werner up to the standard of Liverpool’s current front three? Not for me. Obviously my opinion will be put to the test next season if he does complete a move to Chelsea. There has been so much rumour around his intended destination for months now, with my former club at the heart of that, but most of the other big names in European football have been linked to him. I’ve also seen the meltdown from some Liverpool fans when they ­realised he’s probably not leaving RB Leipzig for Anfield after all. It makes it seem as though he’s a Marco van Basten, a world-class player who would walk into any side. For the life of me, I don’t know why. I’ve watched him a fair few times and there are things about his game I like and admire, but does he influence games consistently enough? Not for me. Does he match up to the players you are signing him to challenge and replace? Not at Liverpool. Maybe at Chelsea

[Fowler added on Liverpool’s reluctance to meet Werner’s price tag] I’ve heard so many people ­complaining about Liverpool owners not splashing the cash, not diving in on ­Werner when he’s a ‘steal’ at £52m. Is he really, though? This is the reality - all those other clubs, Barcelona, Liverpool, Juventus, Real Madrid, Man City and United have looked at him and thought, in the current market, his release clause fee is too high. How do we know that? Because otherwise, they would have activated it. To be honest, I see a situation where Chelsea saw perhaps the only circumstance in which they would sign Werner. That they had to pay the ­release fee to get him - because other clubs wouldn’t. In short, they had to pay a massive premium to make him come to their club. We’ve seen it before with clubs struggling a tiny bit - they pay over the odds to get players. City had to do that for a while, Chelsea themselves too. At times, Liverpool have done that over the past two decades. It rarely worked for them

2020 06 25 Retrieve

[Reds legend Robbie Fowler says Liverpool should be bracing themselves for interest to be shown in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane] There’s going to be a little bit of talk about Mo Salah again and Sadio Mane. Good players ultimately get linked with top European clubs.

For a player to come into this team, it’s going to be hard to make them any better because they are a really good side. Where I’d like to see them build is - think of the game against Everton where they probably struggled on the left-hand side. James Milner will never, ever let you down. Him coming into that left-back position, but if Andy Robertson does get injured again or does have a dip in form, I think we just need someone to cover Robertson just to strengthen the squad

I’m sure when the title is won, I think Jurgen will probably go for records. He’ll want to get over 100 points, he’ll want to remain unbeaten for the remaining games. Having seen the performance [against Crystal Palace] I’ve got a little sneaky feeling that it will be hard for any team to stop them. I think that’ll be Jurgen’s thoughts. As much as he’ll give a few kids a little go, I’m not sure they will start and play a large number of games remaining. I think he’ll try to go for maximum points.

2020 06 26 Retrieve

[Former Reds striker Robbie Fowler joked he was ready to hand over his ‘God’ nickname to the German following their title win] I think I’m going to have to relinquish this God shout now, give it on to Jurgen. Jurgen can be called ‘God’ now, can’t he? I’ll let him have that, I’ll let him have it. I honestly feel brilliant, I know we haven’t played for Liverpool for a long time but to be here and witnessing what we’ve witnessed, it’s absolutely incredible, it really is

Since Jurgen’s been there, I think the belief that he has given the players and they really go into every game believing that they will win, believing that no one can touch them. He’s got the attitude absolutely spot on. What he said four years ago that he’s going to bring the Premier League to this club, he’s absolutely nailed it. In four years, he’s been in the Europa League final, he’s been in a Champions League final twice, obviously they’ve won it once, and now the Premier League. I think the belief that he’s instilled into them players has been nothing short of just a phenomenal bit of man management

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Robbie Fowler claims Manchester City’s bid to rein in Liverpool will see them make a move for Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly] City may have slipped slightly from their all-time great status of the past two seasons in the ­Premier League, but I’m convinced it won’t be for long. By ‘not for long’, I mean not at all, because they’re rightful favourites to win the Champions League and FA Cup. I actually expect them to spend this summer now too, despite uncertainty around their potential European ban and the loss of revenue due to the pandemic. That, more than anything, is testimony to Liverpool’s greatness this season. I think a lot of clubs will have been panicked by Klopp’s dominance. You look at City’s transfer profiling and they have bought young players with ­potential for a few years now. Quality yes, but always younger, with room for ­development. But I can see them going out and buying Kalidou Koulibaly for big money, even though he’s almost 30. Central defence has been their weakness this season and they need to address it. I’m convinced they will address it. That will see them come back even stronger. That will see a challenge to ­Liverpool that the football world can ­relish. And I think it will take both of them beyond the rest

We need box office. We need Ali v Frazier, Borg v McEnroe, Roy Keane v an empty room. Liverpool are box office. They have ­produced one of the greatest seasons in football history and I genuinely believe they can get better. They have a genius of a manager and an individual and team ethic that goes far beyond money and stardom

2020 06 29b Retrieve

[Brisbane had finished the previous season second from bottom but Fowler guided the club into fourth place in the 11-team A-League table, with 10 wins from 22 games, when the league was suspended] On behalf of myself and Tony, I would like to thank the club for the opportunity, and the Brisbane Roar fans for the warm welcome and support for me and the team. We are very proud of what we achieved