Robbie Fowler: The Local Hero Who Scored A Quite Remarkable Hat-Trick

Sep 16, 2020, 5:00 PM GMT+1
Robbie Fowler is the seventh highest scorer in Premier League history
Robbie Fowler is the seventh highest scorer in Premier League history | Tal Gilad/Minute Media

One FA Cup and two League Cup titles was all the domestic silverware Robbie Fowler had to show for some astounding scoring rates in the mid-90s.

He would lift European titles at the turn of the century - a UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2001 - but for the sheer volume of goals he scored he didn't earn the accolades his performances warranted.

Doesn't make him any less loved in Liverpool, though. Nor does it make the stunning hat-trick he netted against Arsenal in 1994 any less astounding. He is, after all, referred to as 'God' by many on Merseyside.

Robbie Fowler
Does the teal ring a bell? | Ben Radford/Getty Images

While boring old Sadio Mané has since wrestled this particular record away from Fowler, it remained the quickest in Premier League history for over 20 years. Three goals at Anfield, against Arsenal, facing a formidable defence, in four minutes and 33 seconds. Yeah, it's probably worth having a look back on that special day.

On the opening day of the 1994/95 season, the Reds travelled down south to Selhurst Park, wiping with floor with Crystal Palace 6-1. Fowler got himself in on the act.

With Arsenal next up on home soil, a tough clash was expected. Fowler, by this point, was a sprightly youngster who'd burst onto the scene the season before with an 18-goal haul in his first 34 matches as a Liverpool player - having made his way up through the academy. Clearly bursting with talent, it still didn't make anyone less shocked to see the events of 28 August unfold.

Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and David Seaman were the Arsenal back five. You know, that back five. One of the best seen in the Premier League era.

Fowler tore through them like a hot knife through melted butter.

The first of his remarkable trio of goals came 26 minutes in. A poor Keown header from a wide free kick found its way to Fowler in fortuitous fashion - albeit also appalling defending - but there was nothing lucky about the finish. A bent left-footed drive past the onrushing Seaman did the trick. 1-0 Liverpool.

From the kick off Arsenal broke forward immediately search of a route back into the game, but a quick turnover saw Steve McManamam drive forward and feed Fowler to his left, who'd evaded the gaze of Dixon.

His first touch gets the ball out of his feet, yet it's the almost unnoticeable little hop he makes that perfectly ensures the ball is in the right place to strike it. That split second adjustment tees him up to strike it with his left, where absolute accuracy sees his effort nestle into the far corner and in off the bottom of the post.

These two goals happening in the space of barely two minutes... yet still time for more before we've even got to the five-minute mark.

Allsport/Lpool v Vil
Fowler left a fine legacy at Anfield | Ben Radford/Getty Images

In absolute cruise control, and with Arsenal fully rattled, Liverpool were tidily keeping the ball in the centre of the park, biding their time and under no pressure whatsoever. On the other hand, Fowler was chasing his hat-trick at this point and full of life. He wasn't easing off.

So when John Barnes picked out his neat run in between the Gunners' centre-backs, off he went. Seaman, to his credit, saved his initial attempt but was powerless to see the ball squirm under a combination of himself and Keown and fall back into Fowler's path.

Still with plenty to do, he collected the ball on the byline, took once touch to keep it in play and then lashed it home from point-blank range with his right foot. Three goals. Four minutes. 33 seconds.

He was just 19 years old.

Robbie Fowler
Just a kid back in 1994 | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

In terms of announcing your arrival, it's a not a bad way to do it. Sure, he sort of did that the season before, but that display was the beginning of a goalscoring journey that would put him seventh in the all-time Premier League scoring charts. That season sparked three consecutive 31+ goal hauls, en route to 173 total spread across spells with Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester City.

83 of those came before he turned 22. Not bad going.

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