Rafael Benitez hailed the performance of stand-in skipper Robbie Fowler after he set Liverpool on their way to a thrilling 4-3 Carling Cup victory over Reading last night.
Fowler made the most of his first appearance in 6 weeks. He opened the scoring with his 28th goal in 33 games in the competition and set up Peter Crouch for what proved to be the winning goal.
‘We know Robbie’s record is amazing in this competition,’ said Benitez.
‘But if we play like this and create lots of chances then he can score goals in all competitions. He has the quality.
‘Robbie played well because he has game intelligence and quality, and he is a very good finisher as he showed by his fantastic goal.
‘It was a very good finish. I have seen him in training every day and he is very good. Only people with his quality can do this.
‘But Riise, Paletta and Crouch scored good goals, too. Maybe Robbie could have scored another one but Crouch didn’t pass to him for his goal!’
Despite conceding three goals in a late fightback by Reading, the Liverpool boss concentrated on the positive side of the Reds display.
‘It was a cup tie and we are in the next round and a lot of positives happened,’ he added.
‘We scored four goals and all of them were fantastic goals. Some young players got to play at Anfield for the first time and it was positive to see the team trying to play attacking football.
‘We do need to learn as we conceded three goals. We need to manage games in another way when we are winning.
‘We didn’t want it to go to extra-time. We needed to finish the game. We had chances and could have scored one or two more goals.
‘To score four goals and create good chances is important. We are not scoring enough away from home and to see four goals is good for the strikers and the rest of the team.
‘We were in the final two years ago and this competition can have possibilities if we keep on winning.
‘Reading deserve credit as they worked really hard and played well. That is maybe another positive for us because when you play against a team that plays well and works as hard as they did, then you enjoy the victory more.’