This season of EPL has finally ended for Liverpool. We are in 3rd position this time, 21 points less than the champion, 15 points less than the runner up. Hopefully, we next season we can be 1st, or at least within 5 points of the champion... Familiar statement this is.
This is also Robbie Fowler's, aka GOD, last game for Liverpool. This is the 2nd time he has to leave. The last time he leaves really leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Not his fault. It's rather, the way that he has been treated. He is a very good striker. Unfortunately for him, there is a another new striker, Michael Owen, coming through the youth team.
In terms of scoring powers, they are at least on par. But I feel with Owen, he's not able to create opportunities to other players. And his greatest weapon is his acceleration. He is able to reach to speed in a very short time, thus able to surprise his opponents many a time to get into good positions. The problem with that is that as opponents get used to his style of play, they are better able to deal with him. And that as time goes by, his muscles cannot take the strain of his running and injuries starts to happen more frequently. Fowler has a much better brain and is a better player all round. But Owen has another important factor to his favour. He has a boy next door look, while Fowler has a junkie look. So the manager at that time, Gerard Houllier, favours Owen more. This is still ok. But whatever Fowler do, he will not be considered to the 1st team unless Owen is injured. He can score hat-tricks, come on as late substitute to score the winning goals. But if the next game Owen is fit, he'll be on the bench. And to make it worse, when GH became the manager, he makes Fowler the vice-captain. Not because he believes in him, but because by appointing the popular Fowler as the vice-captain, he gains brownie points with the fans. And when he gains popularity himself, he dumps Fowler. Fowler didn't even get to say farewell to the fans.
So this time, he gets to do it properly. The fact that he gets to do it at all shows what a good people manager the current manager, Rafa Benitez, is. Even though Fowler left Liverpool, his heart has always been with Liverpool. Even his goal celebrations while in other team is Liverpool themed. Though he has left Liverpool, his heart has never left. His career and life is really ruined by Gerard Houllier.
1.5 years back, Rafa is in need of a backup striker. He chosed to bring back the lost son. At that time, I was thinking if it's another PR move, GH style. It proves a shrewd moves. If for nothing, having him in the team is already a plus. This guy just bleed Liverpool. There is no one better to set an example for the younger players. Together with Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, they really shows what playing for Liverpool is all about.
Now, when Rafa decides not to extend Fowler's contract, I am convinced that Fowler is not a move born out of PR. On his last game in Anfield, though the result is inconsequential, Rafa names Fowler as the captain. And in the 89th minute, he substitute Fowler out so that he can receive a standing ovation from the fans. But Fowler is unlucky that immediately after he came out, Liverpool is awarded a penalty. If Rafa acted 1 minute later, he would have his perfect farewell.
Being able to see Fowler put on a red shirt again is up there as 1 of the best moment of my life as a Liverpool fan. As good as when we won the Champion's League coming from a 3-0 deficit at half time. There are things that will always look out of place. Fowler in anything other than the Red Liverpool jersey is 1 of them. Now that he's leaving again, I hope Rafa will have a change of mind. But if not, I wish all the best to our GOD, Robbie Fowler.