On January 27, 2006, Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez delivered what Reds fans had been craving for more than four years: the return of Robbie Fowler.
Re-signed following his reluctant departure in November 2001, the Kop hero was back at Anfield.
“I can’t really believe it’s happened again,” said an ecstatic Fowler after joining his beloved club for a second time.
“I’m so happy it’s frightening.
“To travel back to Anfield was great. To actually put pen to paper… well, it is something that I have wanted to happen for a long time.”
The Toxteth-born Academy graduate had established himself as one of the club’s most lethal and revered strikers after making his goalscoring debut as a fresh-faced teenager in September 1993.
Dubbed ‘God’ by the adoring fans, he reached 100 goals quicker than mentor Ian Rush and won the treble of League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup in 2001.
But despite his heroics, midway through the following season Reds manager Gerard Houllier did the unthinkable and offloaded Fowler to Leeds United for a record-breaking £11million.
The Liverpool supporters were stunned. The local media were inundated with protest letters and calls. The fans wanted him back.
Rumours of his return came and went but the only transfer that transpired for Fowler took him to Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City in 2003.
Then, at the age of 30, the call came from Benitez. Fowler signed on a free transfer and was afforded a welcome fit for a legend on his return.
“I think it’s my proudest and most memorable moment,” Fowler later reflected.
“Coming back to Liverpool. Coming back home. Putting on that red shirt again. It meant an awful lot to me.”
Fowler was roared to the rafters when he came off the bench to make his second debut at Anfield and was only denied an overhead, injury-time winner by an offside flag (had the linesman not read the script?).
The forward would go on to net 12 times in his season-and-a-half with Benitez’s Reds and overtook another legend, Kenny Dalglish, in the club’s all-time top goalscorer list.
Across his two stints at Liverpool, Fowler bagged 183 goals in 369 games to rank as the sixth-highest scorer in LFC history.