Michael Owen claims Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is the second best player he ever had the pleasure to feature alongside, with Real Madrid icon Zinedine Zidane the only performer more accomplished.
Gerrard is enjoying one of his finest seasons for the Reds despite being the advanced age of 33, with the veteran midfielder having contributed nine assists - the equal most in the Premier League this season.
His most recent assist in the 3-2 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage was an exquisite flick that left the purists purring, and epitomised the verve and confidence Liverpool are playing with under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool appear to be on their way back to the Champions League with Gerrard leading the charge, and are also outsiders to clinch a first league title in the Premier League ere.
Owen, meanwhile, is far from surprised that Gerrard continues to thrive in the Liverpool midfield, albeit in a deeper role these days, and identifies only Zidane as a player with more talent than the England skipper.
“I have played alongside some of the greatest footballers of my generation, but there is only one ex-team-mate I would rate higher than Steven Gerrard,” Owen wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
“The biggest compliment I can give him is he is second only to Zinedine Zidane in terms of his world-class status. Since the first time I saw Stevie play, as an 11-year-old in the Liverpool youth ranks, it has been obvious how much ability he possessed to become the complete, modern footballer.”
“As he evolves his game in the latter years of his career for club and country, it is no surprise he is continuing to excel.
“His new role at Liverpool as a deep midfielder is a position he can play blindfolded. It is the easiest position on the pitch and, if anything, the only obstacle to success is psychological.”