Liverpool vs Arsenal: When Robbie Fowler won an award for telling ref not to give penalty

Robbie Fowler vs Arsenal

Liverpool face Arsenal this weekend in a fixture that has an incredible history.

There’s one match that stands out in particular - especially for Arsenal fans.

Of course, we’re talking about the 1989 clash at Anfield. Arsenal went into the final game of the season at Anfield needing to win by two goals to pip their opponents to the title.

ENTER GIVEAWAY

ENTER GIVEAWAY

And in stoppage time, Michael Thomas grabbed that all important second goal as the Gunners earned their two-goal victory.

Liverpool supporters would like to erase that day from their memory, thank you very much.

Instead, they’d no doubt rather look back on the 2001 FA Cup final in Cardiff where they were completely outplayed by Arsenal before two late Michael Owen goals won them the trophy.

But we want to look back on an encounter between the two sides that took place in 1997.

Arsenal and Liverpool met at Highbury with the away side running out 2-1 winners.

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But there was controversy surrounding Liverpool’s second goal on the night.

Striker Robbie Fowler went down in the penalty area under a challenge from goalkeeper David Seaman and referee Gerald Ashby pointed to the penalty spot.

However, Fowler immediately tried to convince the official to change his mind as he admitted he hadn’t been touched by his England teammate. It was a class gesture from Fowler, who was awarded a commendation from UEFA for his honesty.

Robbie Fowler and David Seaman

But for some reason, the referee ignored Fowler’s claims and the decision stood.

And seconds after insisting it wasn’t a penalty, Fowler stepped up to take it.

His effort was missed but Liverpool’s Jason McAteer rammed home the rebound.

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Some fans claimed that Fowler had missed on purpose but he insisted that wasn’t the case as he retold the penalty many years on.

“I just remember getting up and seeing David Seaman. There was all the talk of ‘did he dive or didn’t he’ but I just lost momentum when I jumped over him and fell over," Fowler told the Liverpool Echo.

“It wasn’t a penalty and because he was my mate from the England side, I just said it wasn’t a pen. I don’t think there were too many happy Liverpool fans or too many happy Liverpool management on the bench but two good things came out of it for me that day.

“I helped Jason McAteer score his first ever Liverpool goal and I got a fair play certificate from UEFA so it was not a bad day – and we ended up with the win as well. I didn’t miss the penalty on purpose, it was just a bad penalty but they all are when you don’t score them. I remember it very, very well actually.”

We can’t imagine many strikers would try to convince a referee NOT to give them a penalty these days.

Although VAR would no doubt have concluded that it wasn’t a penalty in the first place…

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