Roberto Martinez has praised the influence of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard ahead of Wigan's visit to Merseyside on Saturday afternoon.

Some would argue that the 31-year-old is the finest player ever to wear the famous red of Liverpool - quite a claim for a club boasting such an illustrious history.

But Martinez is certainly one of those who feels Gerrard is deserving of the highest of praise, and outlined the Reds captain as a key threat to Wigan this weekend.

The Latics travel to Anfield still burdened by the danger of relegation, but will count on their experience of avoiding the drop last season as a key attribute in the end of season run-in.

But with the likes of Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Dirk Kuyt and Stewart Downing standing in their way, Martinez knows his side will be in for a supreme test.

"Gerrard is an outstanding footballer and I think he is more than a footballer," Martinez told his weekly press conference.

"He represents what it means to play football and look at what he's achieved for that football club which is quite unique.

"The problem you have with Liverpool is if you concentrate too much on Gerrard then you allow too much space for Suarez, Downing, Kuyt, and the list goes on.

"I think this is a very good Liverpool side which is getting stronger, and I'm sure it will continue to get stronger season by season with players gelling together.

"You need big rocks, players who set the standards and Gerrard is one of them."

Liverpool, meanwhile, will be looking to restore some pride having seen defeat to Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday damage their chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

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