​One of Liverpool's all-time greatest forwards, Robbie Fowler, has speculated that a knee injury early in his career prevented him from reaching even greater heights, and he admitted that he was "not the same player" after blow in 1998.

The 41-year-old Toxteth-born striker made over 250 appearances for the Reds in two spells, winning the FA Cup, two League Cups and the UEFA Cup, but hints he might've done more had he stayed fit at a crucial point in his career.

At the age of 22, in a Merseyside derby, Fowler suffered an infamous anterior cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for the remainder of the season and forced him to miss the 1998 World Cup.

Robbie Fowler and Sami Hyypia

"[It was] a collision with [Everton goalkeeper] Thomas Myhre. It probably did change me, but as a footballer you have to accept it," Fowler told the ​Liverpool Echo.

"I was one of the more unlucky players in terms of injuries and operations, whereas some players can play a whole career and not get anything.

"But it’s all hypothetical. I could have gone on to become the best in the world – there was a World Cup that summer which I missed – but maybe not. You can’t think too much about it."

The former Leeds and Manchester City striker recalled the moments following the serious injury, which has a typical recovery time of up to a year.

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"Obviously I was desperately disappointed, because I was playing well, I was still young. I remember waking up from the operation with a big gap in my leg. I did every ligament in my knee, and I can remember thinking I was finished."

"I actually cried, to be honest. I was on the verge of signing a new contract, and now I wasn’t sure where that was going. Thankfully I got back, but I probably wasn’t the same player afterwards," he added.

Fowler scored twice on his return to Goodison Park a year later, and admitted that his absence from the Liverpool team did have one positive in the form a young, up and coming player by the name of Michael Owen, who was selected for England that summer at the World Cup as an 18-year-old.

Prior to his injury problems, a suspension for Fowler the previous season actually gave Owen his first chance in a Liverpool shirt.

"The good thing about my suspension was that Michael Owen got his debut in my absence," he added.

"He’s still not thanked me for that, Michael!"