Kolo Toure believes that Steven Gerrard can wave his wand and 'make the magic happen' for Liverpool, in order for them to reach the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
The Reds face FC Basel on Tuesday night and must clinch all three points to leapfrog the Swiss champions and finish second in Group B. However, Brendan Rodgers's men enter the clash on the back of a dismal 0-0 draw with Sunderland at the weekend; a performance that saw Liverpool create few chances.
Despite that Toure believes that Gerrard - who will be back in the starting line-up after being rested against the Black Cats - will bring a moral boost to the squad and can inspire his side to victory.
"Steven is a man for great days," the Ivorian told the Liverpool Echo.
“He makes the magic when no-one can make it. That is why he is one of the best players in the world.
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“He makes the magic when no-one can make it. That is why he is one of the best players in the world"
“His age is nothing, people just keep talking but if you have a player like that in your dressing room it is very important with his experience.
“When he came on against Sunderland he made a difference. You could see the energy he brought to the team.
“Players like that don’t need 90 minutes to make the difference, only 20 or 30 minutes. I am really happy to have him as a captain first and as a man because he is a great player.”
Throughout his Liverpool career Gerrard has consistently picked the team up when victory looked near-impossible. Ten years ago the Merseyside club met Olympiakos in a similar situation, needing three points to reach the last 16 of Europe's elite competition.
With ten minutes left on the clock, the Reds led 2-1, however, needed one more goal to go through on goal difference. When Liverpool needed a leader, up stepped skipper Gerrard, who hit a unstoppable half-volley from 25 yards out to send his side through.
His goal in the final that season when 3-0 down to AC Milan started the comeback and his two late strikes in the FA Cup final against West Ham the following season took the game to extra-time, where Liverpool won on penalties.
Further forward role
Now in his twilight years, there's no denying that Gerrard is not quite the player he once was. Recently he has dropped to the bench on several occasions, including the 1-0 loss to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Yet, he is still Liverpool's most important player.
Last season, and the start of this, he played a deeper role just in-front of the defence, however, the Reds' captain could not spray his passes as effectively and his pace saw him struggle to keep up with opposition's quick counter-attacks.
This prompted Rodgers to give Gerrard more freedom further forwards, playing just behind the attackers and he's had more success. His distribution is much more effective and is able to drive into dangerous positions, as saw when scoring in Liverpool's 3-1 win against Leicester City last week.
Wary of Basel threat
In anticipation of Tuesday's vital game, Toure has admitted it will be a stiffer task than against Sunderland and the Reds must improve if they are to walk away with the maximum points.
“We have to defend well but we will also take some risks to win the game and we will push from the back," the 33-year-old added.
“I think tactically they will be better than Sunderland and going forward they are going to be really dangerous as they have quick and intelligent players. But we will give 100% to try to win.
“I know the fans will be fantastic for us. We know when a great time comes they are always there. It is up to us to up the tempo and put this Basel team under pressure.
“It’s not easy when every team comes here and defends like Sunderland did but we have to find the solutions.”
Basel enter the game sitting at the top of the Swiss league, nine points clear of Zurich FC and hold the bragging rights over Liverpool after defeating them 1-0 at the St. Jakob Park in October. They only need to gain one point at Anfield to enter the last 16 of the competition and given Liverpool's inability to score goals, it's likely they'll 'park the bus' on Tuesday night.
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