Saturday, August 28, 1999 Published at 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
Fowler shoots down Arsenal
Fowler: Celebrated new-found fatherhood with a 30-yard goal
Liverpool 2-0 Arsenal
A blistering 30-yard strike from Robbie Fowler helped Liverpool to an impressive 2-0 win over subdued Arsenal.
Arsenal's substitute striker Davor Suker had a late penalty saved but it could have saved Arsenal as Patrik Berger had followed up Fowler's wonder-strike to put Liverpool in the clear.
Ruud Gullit paid the price for spending £30m and failing to deliver but Gerard Houllier's £30m shopping trip appears to have been worth it.
Fears that the foreign legion might not gel at Anfield appear to have been dispelled as free-running followed up their midweek win over Leeds by out-gunning Arsenal.
And even more happily for Liverpool's fans and England manager Kevin Keegan, the game saw the return of England striker Michael Owen, given just three minutes of action after his three-month absence with a hamstring tear.
Arsenal should have scored more than two against Bradford City during midweek, but it was Liverpool who wasted the chances they stacked up at Anfield.
A rejuvenated Robbie Fowler, thriving under the responsibility of the vice-captaincy handed to him this season, carved out several chances for himself.
He finally scored with a thunderous first-half 30-yard drive which, although he slipped as he hit it, cannoned in off the underside of Alex Manninger's cross bar.
Fowler, who became a father on Thursday, was back at his best after a disastrous end to last season wich saw him miss the final six games through suspension over his drug-snorting goal celebration and gay taunts of Graeme Le Saux.
The Liverpool-born striker appears to have taken the advice of Houllier and England team-mate Alan Shearer to let his football do the talking.
He carved out chance after chance, tormenting Arsenal skipper Tony Adams with a series of teasing runs, but failed to convert any of them.
His best chance for a second came twenty minutes into the second half when Patrik Berger found him unmarked on the edge of the box but his curled shot ricocheted off the left-hand post.
But his off-the-ball running and awareness were faultless - and contrasted dramatically with Arsenal's new £10m signing Thierry Henry.
Henry's only chance came on 63 minutes from a delicate through ball played by Patrick Vieira but the striker's weak shot was clasped by Sander Westerveld at full-stretch.
His misery was completed by a booking for a high tackle on Rigobert Song.
Arsenal failed to create a single clear-cut in the whole 90 minutes and in desperation Arsene Wenger substituted Marc Overmars for new Croatian signing Davor Suker.
Arsenal's famous back-four of Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Martin Keown and Lee Dixon - playing together for the first time this season - began to cope better with the Liverpool threat.
But there was nothing they could do about Liverpool's second when a quickly-taken Patrik Berger free-kick took a delfection off Frederik Ljungberg in the Arsenal wall.
Suker could have made up for his miss with an injury-time penalty but the weakly hit spot-kick was saved by Westerveld.
But the save was no less than the home-side deserved as they completed a week in which they reminded the football world they are more than three sides in the Premier league.
Liverpool: Westerveld, Song, Hyypia, Carragher, Matteo, Thompson, Gerrard, Redknapp, Berger, Camara, Fowler. Subs: Staunton, Owen, Heggem, Meijer, Friedel.
Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Winterburn, Keown, Adams, Vieira, Henry, Ljungberg, Overmars, Parlour, Bergkamp. Subs: Vivas, Suker, Silvinho, Upson, Lukic.
Scorers: Fowler, Berger Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)