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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 17:25 GMT
Liverpool make shock Fowler swoop
Robbie Fowler
Fowler scored 171 goals during his first spell with Liverpool
Manchester City striker Robbie Fowler has made a surprise return to former club Liverpool on a free transfer.

The 30-year-old, who has joined for the rest of the season, made his debut for the Reds as an 18-year-old in 1993.

He scored a total of 171 goals in 330 games before joining Leeds for 11m in 2001 and then Man City for 6m in 2003.

"He's got a wealth of experience and gives us more attacking options. He's different to the other strikers we have," said Reds boss Rafael Benitez.

"We have signed a player with so much passion for this football club and I think he will act as an example to every player here in how much he loves Liverpool.

I can't really believe it's happened again so I'm ecstatic
Robbie Fowler

"I'm not sure I've ever seen a player quite so happy to be joining a club before.

"He hasn't been signed because he loves the club; he's been signed because he's one of the best goalscorers ever to play in the Premiership and he can score goals for us right now.

"We have signed a player with a passion and a heart for this club that no amount of money can buy. We are close to a very high level right now but with Robbie we can go even higher."

Fowler said he was delighted to be given the chance to return Anfield.

"Since I have left, deep down I have always wanted to come back and it has been a long time but I'm glad to say I'm back now," said Fowler.

"Leaving was probably one of my biggest regrets I have had in football.

"I'm chuffed to bits. I mean, I can't really believe it's happened again so I'm ecstatic to be honest."

City boss Stuart Pearce said he did not want to stand in the way of Fowler returning to Anfield.

"If I refused him this opportunity of fulfilling his ambition it would not be good for him or Manchester City Football Club," Pearce told the City website.

Former City boss Kevin Keegan spent 6m to take him away from Leeds in February 2003.

Injuries hampered his career at Eastlands, but he recently scored a hat-trick against Scunthorpe in the third round of the FA Cup.

And he also scored against Manchester United in City's 3-1 derby victory.

In his autobiography Fowler claimed he was forced to leave Liverpool because of his treatment by Benitez's predecessor Gerard Houllier, while his Anfield career was marked by various disciplinary problems.

He had a training ground squabble with Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson as well as an argument with teammate Neil Ruddock left him with a nose injury.

Fowler also had an on-field fight with Chelsea's Graeme Le Saux after making obscene gestures towards the England international.

The striker is not eligible to play in Sunday's FA Cup tie against Portsmouth but could make his comeback in Wednesday's home game with Birmingham.

Whether Fowler is offered a contract extension will be reviewed at the end of the season.


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