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Friday, January 27, 2006
Man City striker Fowler rejoins Liverpool

Robbie Fowler has sensationally returned to his spiritual home at Anfield on a six-month contract - a move that will stun and delight the Kop in equal measure.

The 30-year-old, nicknamed God by his adoring Anfield fans, is back with Liverpool after a three-year stint at Manchester City, who signed him for 6million from Leeds.

Fowler left Liverpool in 2001 in an 11million deal, with many believing the former England striker was forced out of the club by Gerard Houllier after some well publicised off-field incidents.

But he has never lost the adulation of the Liverpool fans and only this month news he had scored a stunning goal against Manchester United earned him a standing ovation from the Anfield fans.

Now the Toxteth-born striker is back in his own domain, intent on proving a couple of seasons wrecked by hip problems are behind him.

If the move pays off then manager Rafael Benitez will have negotiated one of the greatest transfers coups the club has ever seen.

The Spaniard spoke of his - and Fowler's - delight at the signing, saying: 'My idea is for Liverpool to take one step forward and I think Robbie can help us make that step.

'We have signed a player with so much passion for this football club and I think he will act as an example to every player here in how much he loves Liverpool.

'It is a boost for the team, a boost for the supporters and a boost for Robbie himself. I'm not sure I've ever seen a player quite so happy to be joining a club before.'

Benitez, criticised for not signing an out-and-out goalscorer, also believes Fowler could provide the missing ingredient for his squad.

'Robbie is a great finisher who can help us reach a new level. He hasn't been signed because he loves the club; he's been signed because he's one of the best goalscorers ever to play in the Premiership and he can score goals for us right now,' he told the club's website,

'He's got a wealth of experience and he gives us more attacking options. He's a different kind of striker to what we have at the club and that is good for the team.

'People can talk about having a lot of money to buy players but we've just signed a player with a passion and a heart for this club that no amount of money can buy.

'We are close to a very high level right now but with Robbie we can go even higher.'

City boss Stuart Pearce accepted he could not stand in Fowler's way but he has cut the club's highest paid player at 35,000 a week from his wage bill, which will save 750,000 a year.

It means Pearce is now expected to make an increase bid for Greek striker Georgios Samaras, who has gone on `strike' at Dutch club Heerenveen after they rejected City's original approach.

'Liverpool are his dream club and he wanted to leave and rejoin them,' said Pearce.

'If I refused him this opportunity of fulfilling his ambition it would not be good for him or Manchester City. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his efforts.'

Fowler returns to Anfield from the City of Manchester Stadium on a free transfer with a six-month contract, with the prospect of that being extended by another six months.

He made 75 starts for City and scored 27 goals during his time with the club.

Fowler, who won 26 England caps, scored 173 goals in 330 appearances for Liverpool and his massive Merseyside fan club will hope he will soon be able to add to that total.

However, he is cup-tied and cannot play at Portsmouth in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday but will be available against Birmingham at Anfield in the Premiership on Wednesday.

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