Parry puts faith in 'great predator' Fowler to increase strike rate

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The Independent Football

The Liverpool chief executive, Rick Parry, has revealed that Robbie Fowler was "desperate" to return to Anfield. In the most surprising transfer of the January window, Fowler signed a short-term deal until the end of the season on Friday.

After more than four years away - 14 months with Leeds and three years with Manchester City - Fowler will again play for the club where he is known as "God".

Fowler, also known affectionately on Merseyside as the "Toxteth Terror", scored 171 goals in 330 appearances during a near 10-year spell on Merseyside and could not wait to sign up for the Reds again, even though he was an Everton supporter as a boy.

"I've never known a transfer happen quite so quickly," Parry said yesterday of Fowler's move. "It was all done within 24 hours, and that was largely because of Robbie's passion to rejoin the club. I had to persuade Robbie to look at the contract. I think I could have put a contract in front of him with no money on it and he would have signed it. He really was that desperate to come back.

"At Liverpool we always look for players who are committed to coming to the club and want to play for us. I've never seen quite such enthusiasm as Robbie showed."

Despite Liverpool's success this season - they are third in the Premiership table and through to the last 16 of the Champions' League - the manager Rafael Benitez's forwards have found goals hard to come by. Despite Fowler's recent struggles with City, Parry is hoping the 30-year-old can solve the problem.

"We hope this is the spark for his career; certainly on Robbie's part there is no lack of motivation," Parry said. "We hope it works out, and he hopes for sure it works out. Again, as a measure of his desire, the idea of coming short-term was no factor at all. No problem.

"He was just desperate to come and prove himself to Rafa. The point to stress is that first and foremost this was a football decision, and it was Rafa's judgement that he would strengthen the team. Throughout his career Robbie has been a tremendous goalscorer, a great predator, and we hope he will bring some qualities we don't have at the moment."

Parry also believes that the forthcoming Premier League "bung" inquiry could prove a difficult one for the current chief executive Richard Scudamore to conduct. As a former chief executive of the Premier League, Parry was asked what was the biggest hurdle to be faced.

"From experience, finding evidence," he replied. "There's a lot of innuendo. There will be all sorts of accusations, but finding hard evidence is the key. Unless people are willing to come forward and admit they've received bungs then it's almost impossible to gain proof."