FORMER Liverpool striker and legend Robbie Fowler believes Australia is set to become a force in world football.
The man nicknamed 'God' by Reds fans for his uncanny scoring ability - he is the sixth-highest scorer in the English Premier League (with 163 goals) of all time - knows a thing or two about Australian football.
The 39-year-old played two seasons in the A-League - one each with the now-defunct North Queensland Fury (2009-10), and the Perth Glory (2010-11).
He said he believed Australia's entry into the Asian Football Confederation would do wonders for the sport Down Under, particularly after the Socceroos' history-making Asian Cup triumph on home soil back in January.
"Without a doubt. I think the change from Oceania to Asia has benefited everyone," Fowler told APN.
"No disrespect to the other countries, but you're playing against more competitive teams. It makes the players that little bit more strong and better equipped to go into the bigger games.
"I was in Australia during the last Asian Cup (in 2011) when they lost to Japan after extra time and you could see the difference then."
Fowler said he believed the A-League was growing in stature every season, particularly after global superstars Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono recently spent two seasons each at Sydney FC and Western Sydney respectively.
"I'd like to see more teams in the A-League to make that more competitive as well," he said.
"I think the potential is massive over here - we've witnessed a progression even since I was playing out here."
Now working as an ambassador with Liverpool, Fowler said he was looking forward to returning to Brisbane for the Liverpool versus Brisbane Roar exhibition match on July 17, and also the match against Adelaide United at the Adelaide Oval on July 20.
"I think it's brilliant (the amount of exhibition games Liverpool plays around the world now). When I was in England we'd travel to Ireland a few times or Europe," he said.
"But now the players are getting a chance to play in the most iconic stadiums in the world ... the Boston Red Sox stadium, the New York Yankees stadium - it's brilliant."
He said he was confident the fans in Brisbane and Adelaide would do their best to replicate the atmosphere from when the team played Melbourne Victory in front of 95,000 at the MCG in 2013.
"It was spine tingling," he said. "The biggest compliment I can pay the people of Melbourne and Australia is that we still talk about it to this day."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.