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So Mr Houllier finally found reason(s) to offload Robbie Fowler then. Repeated cries of "HIS decision, HIS" from stand-in Phil Thompson will cut no ice with Liverpool fans anywhere. The simple truth of the matter is that Robbie Fowler was never offered a new contract, and would without question have signed a new deal had he been done so AND he was offered the chance to prove his unquestioned ability with more than the occasional appearance in the first team.

No-one blames Fowler for leaving. Everyone is amazed Liverpool allowed him to go to an immediate tital rival, Leeds. While I'm also amazed at that decision, I'm glad that the player himself has the opportunity to win silverware rather than disappear into obscurity. The move will undoubtedly be good for England too.

Fans will be troubled by the fact that Liverpool have now effectively swapped Emile Heskey for Robbie Fowler. It is obvious that Heskey fits in better with Liverpool's style at the moment, but at some point Houllier (by his own admission) will start to play pretty football again, and it's then where Fowler would be the man for the job. Utterings of Bosman rulings and the player himself wanted to go are wearing - Liverpool let him go because the timing is least damaging to them.

But the deal is done now. It's unbelievable to see Robbie playing in a Leeds shirt. There IS only one thing Liverpool must do now - sign a replacement with flair and pace, an unrivalled left foot, an arrogance for the goal-out-of-nothing, a passion for the club, the love of the fans and one who can score 25 goals a season. From the bench.


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