Football: Fowler comeback crowns Liverpool triumph
By Paul Walker
Wednesday 16 September 1998
Last season Kosice lost both their Champions' League ties to Manchester United by 3-0 scorelines, and they suffered the same humbling in front of their own supporters here.
Patrik Berger, Liverpool's Czech forward, opened the scoring with a stunning 30-yard drive in the first half and turned in an outstanding display. His team-mate, Karlheinz Riedle, added another soon afterwards and in the second half Fowler stepped from the bench to make a superb third for Michael Owen with his first touch of the ball.
Liverpool displayed all their flowing attacking skills at the Locomotiva stadium, even if the defence at times looked less than convincing. But the Merseyside club will not want to dwell on those occasional shortcomings. They were far too good for the Slovakian champions.
Without their injured captain, Paul Ince, Liverpool had Steve Harkness in midfield, while Steve McManaman led the side. Fowler was named for a senior game as a substitute for the first time since he damaged cruciate ligaments in February.
Owen found himself a marked man, with Kosice defenders taking it in turns to foul him from behind almost at will. However, it was this level of intimidation from the Slovaks that earned Liverpool their first goal. It came after 18 minutes, when Marek Spilar clattered Owen 30 yards out from Steve Staunton's tapped free-kick. Jamie Redknapp stepped over the ball and Berger unleashed a searing low shot that crashed in off the inside of a post.
The Slovaks made a brief response but were stunned again five minutes later when Liverpool scored their second goal. McManaman got away from Dusan Toth on the right and fired over a fine cross that was met in the six-yard box by the unmarked Riedle, who powered a header past the helpless Ladislav Molnar.
Owen, who was still receiving treatment when Riedle's goal went in, was once again left in a painful heap by Ivan Kozak, who somehow avoided a yellow card.
Liverpool maintained their grip in the second half, with Fowler finally getting his first taste of action when he came on as a 58th-minute substitute for Riedle. Within 26 seconds of his arrival and with his first touch, Fowler created a goal for Owen, threading a perfect through ball. Owen took his revenge on the Slovak defenders by racing away and gliding a sidefoot shot past Molnar.
Brad Friedel, Liverpool's goalkeeper, made a superb 65th-minute save from Peter Zurik's 20-yard power driver and handled a succession of high crosses with great calm. However, Liverpool finished in command and the second leg in a fortnight should be a formality.
Kosice: Molnar; Toth (Prohaszka, 67), I Kozak, Dzurik, Spilar, Sovic, Nemeth, Kozlej (Lubarskij, 67), Semenik, Zvara, Kral (J Kozak, h-t). Substitutes not used: Seman, Gerich, Lapsansky, Jambor.
Liverpool: Friedel; Staunton, Babb, McManaman (McAteer, 78), Owen, Redknapp (Leonhardsen, 83), Harkness, Riedle (Fowler, 58), Heggem, Berger, Carragher. Substitutes not used: James (gk), Kvarme, Bjornebye, Matteo.
Referee: J Arcio (Spain).
Latest in Sport
Didier Drogba went absolutely mental in the Chelsea dressing room after Blues were given the Premier League trophy
Jurgen Klopp favourite to replace Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool if he's sacked
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Sam Allardyce sacked: West Ham wait just a few minutes after final game to axe manager
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger sets deadline for Theo Walcott contract talks with Liverpool keeping a close eye on his future
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...