|Saturday 27 January 2001 12:00 FA
Cup 4th Round
||0 - 2
|| Barmby 87, Heskey 90
| 1 Nigel Martyn
2 Gary Kelly (c)
3 Ian Harte
6 Jonathon Woodgate
29 Rio Ferdinand
11 Lee Bowyer
19 Eirik Bakke
23 David Batty
21 Dominic Matteo
7 Robbie Keane
9 Mark Viduka
13 Paul Robinson
18 Danny Mills
4 Oliver Dacourt
16 Jason Wilcox
17 Alan Smith
|| 1 Sander
23 Jamie Carragher
2 Stephane Henchoz
12 Sami Hyypia
6 Markus Babbel
13 Danny Murphy
21 Gary McAllister
7 Vladimir Smicer
25 Igor Biscan
16 Dietmar Hamann
9 Robbie Fowler (c)
26 Jorgen Nielsen
30 Christian Ziege
37 Jari Litmanen
20 Nick Barmby
8 Emile Heskey
| Riggott (Strupar 42)
Eranio (Sturridge 67)
|| Babbel (Barmby 67)
Smicer (Heskey 72)
Murphy (Ziege 75)
|OFFICIALS & BOOKINGS
|Referee: Andy D'Urso
| Booked: Harte 52
|| Booked: McAllister 25, Smicer 37,
Biscan 80, Ziege 90
|Elland Road (capacity 40,204)
||David O'Leary (Leeds U)
Gerard Houllier (Liverpool)
|| Fowler's wit has
Houllier in raptures
If the sole legacy of this season's FA Cup is the re-establishment of Robbie Fowler
as one of the Premiership's outstanding forwards and the resumption of an England career
which has yet to progress beyond the apprenticeship stage, the old competition will still
have done its bit for club and country.
Though Fowler's ability has never been in doubt, recurrent injuries, scrapes on and
off the field and the prowess of first Michael Owen and then Emile Heskey have combined to
create the impression that if any attacker was likely to leave Anfield it would be he.
On the evidence of Fowler's contribution on Saturday, however, any such thought by
Gйrard Houllier would have to be regarded as a case for certifying. Three days after
announcing a dramatic return to form in Liverpool's imperious dismissal of Crystal Palace
from the Worthington Cup semi-finals, the 25-year-old practically lugged them into the
last 16 of the FA Cup single-handedly.
The late goals that reduced Leeds's ambitions this season to long odds in both the
Champions League and the Premiership were scored by others - Nick Barmby in the 88th
minute and Heskey in stoppage-time - but Fowler made important contributions to both,
having borne virtually the entire responsibility for Liverpool as an attacking force until
the final 20 minutes.
If the watching Sven-Goran Eriksson had hoped to witness further evidence of Steven
Gerrard's potential or the likelihood of Heskey and Owen emerging as an international
strike force, he was disappointed. Gerrard and Owen were unfit and Heskey, recovering from
a strain, came on only for the last quarter-hour.
Yet the England coach could hardly fail to be impressed by this reminder that in
terms of fetching, carrying, foraging, passing and thinking, not to mention his prolific
scoring habits, Fowler at his best can even now be the answer to the question of
succession posed by Alan Shearer's international retirement.
Fowler still has to regain his sharpness near goal but as Houllier observed:
"In terms of winning the ball, holding the ball and linking he has been much better
over the last two games and it looks as if he is going to reach a very good level. If he
does the right things we will have a player.
"I've always said that we want four quality strikers at Liverpool. I don't
want Robbie Fowler to leave the club, nobody else wants him to leave the club and he
himself doesn't want to leave the club."
Saturday's team could have been designed to prove a point on behalf of both player
and manager. With Jari Litmanen rested, Houllier asked Fowler to take on Rio Ferdinand and
Jonathan Woodgate while receiving scant support from Vladimir Smicer. Though Smicer is a
gifted player for the Czech Republic he is too easily brushed aside in the English game
and in terms of taking the weight off Fowler he was about as effective as Stan Laurel.
Houllier hoped that his front pair would get support from midfield but until the
second half Gary McAllister, Dietmar Hamann, Igor Biscan and Danny Murphy were
consistently pressed back by Eirik Bakke, Lee Bowyer and Dominic Matteo, with David Batty
collecting the loose ends.
During this period Fowler's ability to come deep for the ball, gain possession and
keep it relieved some of the pressure. Not until Barmby came on after 68 minutes, followed
by Heskey after 73, did he enjoy the support which was to win Liverpool the game.
In the end a match littered with poor passing was won by the side possessing the
greater assurance in taking their opportunities. And Matteo's failure to find the target
with a free header after 64 minutes proved to be Leeds's last chance.
With four minutes remaining Barmby put Liverpool ahead after a shot from Fowler
ricocheted to him off a post, and in stoppage-time Ian Harte could head Fowler's cross
only to Barmby, who this time laid the ball back for Heskey to wallop past Nigel Martyn.
Leeds (0) 0 - 2 (0) Liverpool
Martyn; Ferdinand, Harte, Kelly, Matteo, Woodgate; Bakke, Batty, Bowyer; Keane
Westerveld; Babbel (Barmby), Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia; Biscan, Hamann,
McAllister, Murphy (Ziege); Fowler, Smicer (Heskey).
Referee: A. P. D'Urso (Billericay)
Leeds United: Harte (52)
Liverpool: McAllister (26) Smicer (38) Biscan (80) Ziege (90)
Leeds United: 10
Leeds United: 4
Leeds United: 9
Leeds United: 5
Leeds United: 0
Leeds United: 5
© Guardian Newspapers Limited