He might still be god at Anfield but some other ethereal presence seems to have ordained that Robbie Fowler will be back at Liverpool wearing a Cardiff City shirt in the Carling Cup tonight.
The two sides have not met in 48 years and then three months after Fowler's arrival at Ninian Park they drew each other in this tie.
The Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, was puzzled by the reluctance of Premier League sides to pick up the player he took from Manchester City and his Cardiff counterpart, David Jones, whose audacious purchase of the striker came after a chance meeting with Fowler on holiday in Florida, seemed to have done a superb piece of business when his new forward scored twice against West Bromwich Albion in the previous round of the tournament to take his record to four in two games.
Ninian Park's feelings towards Fowler, whose tally is now six goals, have cooled a little since. The club are struggling in the Championship and their problems are seen by some as down to the lack of pace in the expensive front line of Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Fowler, who is earning a reported £15,000 a week with goal and game bonuses plus £800,000 if Cardiff are promoted, is not as quick as Michael Chopra, who delighted home fans during Cardiff's superb start to last season.
Benitez, who expects Fowler to reach 20 goals and be the Championship's top scorer this season, believes that the 32-year-old has alternative gifts to offer. "Maybe he did not have the 'legs' needed to play in a top side any more, but he had everything else," Benitez said. "He had the passion, commitment, the right mentality and character. He was just fantastic to work with."
Fowler has been keen to play down his return to a ground where, after his 183 goals in 369 appearances for Liverpool, Benitez manufactured him a standing ovation by withdrawing him in the 89th minute of last season's home match against Charlton, for which he had been made captain. Fowler then looked on helplessly as his side won a 90th-minute penalty he might have converted.
Benitez, for whom a convincing win would steady a ship rocked by European travails and weak league form, is likely to test out several squad players tonight including Lucas, Sebastian Leto, Harry Kewell, Fabio Aurelio, Charles Itandje and reserve team captain Jack Hobbs. Alvaro Arbeloa may also get a run-out after injury – probably alongside Jamie Carragher – and Peter Crouch can expect a start after his strong showing on Sunday.
Cardiff, who have leaked 18 goals in their last 10 matches and are 17th in the Championship, cannot expect to cause an upset but the hand of history is on their side. They have won 16 games to Liverpool's eight in league matches between these sides and took the last, in 1959, 4-0. Benitez knows Fowler can confound expectations, too. "It would be nice if he scores – but not until we have secured the match," he said.