100 Players Who Shook The Kop: 4. Robbie Fowler
Maintaining fourth position in your 100 Players Who Shook the Kop list is a Scouse striker who thrilled the Kop during the mid-1990s and completed an emotional return in 2006…
Date of birth: April 9, 1975
Place of birth: Toxteth
Years at the club: 1993-2001, 2006-07
Signed from: Apprentice, Manchester City
Left for: Leeds,Cardiff
Position in 2006 poll: 4
Robbie Fowler shook the Kop with eight years of goal after goal after goal for the Reds before further cementing his emotional bond with the club and its fans by dramatically returning for a second spell at Anfield.
A natural finisher in every sense, Fowler could find the back of the net in any scenario; he was equally lethal with his left foot, right foot or head, from long range, inside the opposition area and the penalty spot.
The humble Scouser, who was adored by the Liverpool faithful for his benevolent attitude towards them and the city, typified the mid-1990s excitement surrounding the club - a period in which Robbie broke the 30-goal barrier in three consecutive seasons.
Whispers regarding a precocious new talent were spreading around Merseyside long before Fowler first appeared in a Liverpool shirt and the rumours were right: the youngster netted on his debut at Fulham and smacked five past the same opponents a fortnight later.
The 1993-94 campaign brought a total of 18 goals in all competitions for the striker, including a hat-trick at home to Southampton, precipitating an incredible three-year burst which catapulted Robbie into superstardom.
Still wearing No.23 on his back at that stage, Fowler featured in every single Premier League match that season and made headlines in just the second fixture by scoring an historic treble which few fans will ever forget.
Arsenal were the visitors to Anfield in August 1994 and had navigated the opening 25 minutes without issue, until the Toxteth native altered events. Robbie struck in the 26th, 29th and 31st minutes to record the fastest hat-trick in league history at just 4 minutes and 35 seconds.
He ended the campaign with 31 goals in all competitions and a League Cup winners’ medal around his neck. In the two seasons that followed, the soon-to-be No.9 added totals of 36 and 31 again as Roy Evans created an entertaining, swashbuckling outfit which came close to championship glory.
A succession of injuries, coupled with the rapid emergence of Michael Owen, affected Fowler’s contribution during the years that followed - but the man nicknamed ‘God’ on the Kop overcame Gerard Houllier’s rotation policy to play a crucial role in the treble season of 2000-01.
Robbie smashed home a sensational long-range volley in the League Cup final success against Birmingham, played in the FA Cup final victory over Arsenal and converted a superb solo goal after entering the UEFA Cup showpiece with Alaves as a substitute.
Much to the dismay of the local lad and the fans who loved him, Houllier sanctioned the unlikely sale of Fowler to Leeds in November 2001. The story seemed to be over, but in January 2006 Rafael Benitez swooped to bring ‘God’ back and galvanise Anfield.
Now into his 30s, Robbie’s playing style was much changed to the quick, instinctive forward who was unstoppable a decade earlier; instead the front-man’s currency was his vision, football brain and still accurate shooting.
In 16 appearances following his emotional return, he chipped in with a respectable five goals and was rewarded with another year by Benitez. A further seven goals followed in 2006-07 before Fowler said a second goodbye to the Kop at home to Charlton.
Remarkably, Robbie was handed another opportunity to experience the Anfield atmosphere just last Saturday - when he made a 20-minute cameo in Steven Gerrard’s testimonial. The deafening reaction when ‘God’ stepped up to join the action tells you more than any words could what Fowler means to Kopites.
Honours with LFC: 1 FA Cup (2000-01), 1 UEFA Cup (2000-01), 2 League Cups (1994-95, 2000-01)
Did you know? Fowler received a UEFA fair play award in 1997 after imploring the referee not to wrongly award a penalty after a ‘foul’ on the striker by David Seaman
Where is he now? Retired