Fowler delights at goal return
By Ian Doyle - Daily Post
Robbie Fowler last night celebrated his first goal since
his return to Liverpool and admitted: "It's been a long time
The striker was on the mark as Rafael Benitez's side
discovered their shooting boots in emphatic fashion to thump
Fulham 5-1 at Anfield.
It was Liverpool's first win in four games and consolidated
third place in the Premiership, moving them to within two
points of Manchester United albeit having played two games
Fowler set Liverpool on their way in the 16th minute, and
after Collins John equalised for the visitors, an own goal
from Michael Brown was followed by second-half strikes from
Fernando Morientes and substitutes Peter Crouch and Stephen
But it was Fowler's first strike for Liverpool since signing
from Manchester City that drew the biggest cheer from the
And the forward said: "It doesn't matter that it wasn't at
the Kop. A goal is a goal no matter which end it goes in.
I'm pleased to get off the mark again.
"It's been a long time and people have pointed out that
fact, but I'm on my way again.
"Another pleasing thing is that the other strikers have
scored as well that takes the heat off us a bit. I've waited
a long time for this and I'm just really pleased to get off
the mark again."
Benitez moved to praise Fowler, whose 172nd goal for
Liverpool moves him level with Kenny Dalglish in the club's
all-time scoring records.
"It was his first legal goal!" said Benitez, referring to
the three strikes Fowler has seen chalked off since his
return. "It was the first goal and was really important for
"Working as hard as he does now and having scored three
goals that haven't counted, it was important for him and for
his confidence that he has scored."
Fowler was substituted with 21 minutes remaining, a move
that was met with jeers from sections of the Anfield crowd.
But Benitez said: "He wasn't injured, I just decided to
change him. It might have been easier for me to keep him on
but I had to do the best for the team.
"I know we have to talk about Fowler, but Crouch, Morientes
and Cisse also needed to do something and they have done a
really good job."
The result was Liverpool's biggest win of the season and the
first time they had scored more than twice in a league game
Since January 2. Fowl-er's opener was also the first
Premiership goal scored by a Liverpool striker this year.
"The long wait is over," added Benitez. "It was a fantastic
game for the strikers and the team, and as a manager to see
all the strikers involved in goals is important. They scored
three goals and there was an assist for Cisse.
"The strikers needed to score. They were playing well but
they needed to score. Maybe we can finish talking about
those things now.
"I hope it will give them more confidence. If one striker
scores one goal he can continue playing but all three have
scored and one has had an assist and now we have a problem."
Of the game, Benitez added: "It was an open game and I don't
like to see that at Anfield. Fulham were playing good
counter attack and I said we needed to control the game. I
thought at times we were too wide and not compact enough."
Benitez 'talking' about contract
By Andy Clarke - Sky Sports
Rafael Benitez has dismissed reports that he has signed a
contract extension at Liverpool but admitted that he is
talking to the club about his future.
With three years left to run on his existing deal, Benitez
is believed to be reasy to sign a one-year extension,
keeping him at Anfield until the summer of 2010.
Speculation has linked the former Valencia boss with a
return to his native Spain to manage Real Madrid, but after
seeing his side thrash Fulham 5-1 to end their goal drought
he insisted he is happy at the club.
"We are talking about the future, I have three years left on
my contract here so there is no hurry, I have not signed
anything," Benitez said.
"My relationship with the fans is excellent, as is my
relationship with the board.
"We are happy, I am happy and there is not a problem at all
with our relationships. But the only thing I have been
signing tonight has been autographs."
Robbie Fowler scored his first goal since returning to
Liverpool from Manchester City, Fernando Morientes ended his
14-match barren spell and Peter Crouch touched in his sixth
goal since his summer move from Southampton.
Stephen Warnock also fired his first goal for the club as
Fulham capitulated in the final minutes, with Liverpool's
other goal coming from the boot of the visitors' midfielder
Benitez was delighted that his goal-shy strikers had at last
got on the scoresheet.
He said: "They were all waiting to score and it was
important for their confidence that they did.
"Everybody will want to talk about Robbie's first goal since
he returned here, but I was equally pleased with the goals
from the other strikers too."
after Anfield defeat
By Andy Clarke - Sky Sports
Fulham manager Chris Coleman refused to criticise his
players despite their 5-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
Robbie Fowler, Fernando Morientes and Peter Crouch were
among the Liverpool scorers, while Collins John grabbed his
11th goal of the season during a promising first half spell
for the visitors.
John, Steed Malbranque and Zat Knight all missed good
chances for Fulham before they collapsed late on, conceding
twice in the closing two minutes.
Coleman was pleased with some of the football his side
played and he felt they had performed much better than in
their last two matches - heavy defeats to Arsenal and
"It looked as if we had been battered after those last few
minutes, but I cannot criticise the players after that," he
"I was not happy with the way we played at Everton on
Saturday and told them that. But we played some very good
"It is never easy when you come to Anfield. We have been
smashed by Arsenal, beaten at Everton, but did not think we
deserved to lose by five after the way
Coleman explained why his players were angry at the final
whistle, several of them surrounding referee Alan Wiley in
front of the Kop.
He said: "It was pure frustration, we had just lost 5-1 and
some of the lads were very upset by some of the decisions
that had gone against us."
Five-star Reds crush Fulham
By Andy Clarke - Sky Sports
Liverpool rediscovered their touch in front of goal to
beat Fulham 5-1 and close to within two points of Manchester
Robbie Fowler's first goal of his second Anfield spell set
them on their way and Fernando Morientes broke his long
barren spell by adding the third.
Peter Crouch then touched in a late fourth after coming on
as a substitute to ensure that the club's much-maligned
attacking trio all got their names on the scoresheet.
In between, Collins John scored his 11th goal of the
campaign to level before Michael Brown's unfortunate own
goal restored Liverpool's advantage.
Liverpool had gone 11 matches since they last found the net
twice, but Fulham are such abject travellers that this game
was always going to present an opportunity for goals for
Rafa Benitez's side.
Despite heavy defeats to Arsenal and Everton in their last
two outings, Fulham retained their commitment to attack and
they were rewarded when they became only the third visiting
side to score a Premiership goal at Anfield this season.
They had other chances, too, most notably a powerful header
from Zat Knight early in the second half which beat Jose
Reyna and smacked against a post, but their problems are at
the other end of the field.
The Cottagers crumbled so badly in the closing stages that
Liverpool carved them open at will and could easily have
made the final scoreline even more humiliating.
Liverpool began the game on the front foot but weak early
efforts from Morientes and Fowler suggested that it was
going to be another difficult night for the strikers.
However, the confidence came flooding back once Fowler had
given the Liverpool supporters the moment they had been
craving since his return from Manchester City in January.
Harry Kewell's corner from the left was flicked on by Luis
Garcia and Fowler, untroubled by the attentions of any
Fulham defenders, headed in firmly at the far post.
Further chances followed for both Fowler, who glanced a
header wide from a Djimi Traore cross and Morientes, who
fired into the side-netting from a narrow angle.
Liverpool were knocked out of their stride by a mistake from
Daniel Agger, whose loose ball fed Luis Boa Morte. He
released John, who finished calmly, threading a low shot
More Fowler magic restored the home side's confidence,
though, as he played in Kewell and the Australian's low
cross was turned into his own goal by Brown.
Fulham continued to press with John firing wide and Steed
Malbranque missing the target with a snap-shot from eight
yards, and after Garcia's thumping shot struck the crossbar
Knight's towering header hit the post.
Benitez withdrew Fowler to a chorus of boos from the Kop,
replacing him with Djibril Cisse, and the switch paid
immediate dividends when the Reds grabbed the killer third
Steven Gerrard's cross was met powerfully in the air by
Cisse and although Tony Warner smuggled the ball off the
line, Morientes was on hand to slam it back into the roof of
On came Crouch for Morientes and the England striker's first
involvement brought his sixth goal for the club, as he
cleverly flicked in Gerrard's low cut-back.
Fulham's heads dropped and they conceded a fifth goal in
injury time when Stephen Warnock rifled in a low shot for
his first Liverpool goal.
Chris Coleman's side, who have taken only three points away
from home, welcome neighbours Chelsea to Craven Cottage at
the weekend as they protect an eight-point advantage over
Birmingham. They are not out of danger yet.