After Steven Gerrard fired an historic hat-trick in Tuesday evening's 3-0 Merseyside derby victory over Everton at Anfield, Jamie Carragher believes the Liverpool captain has now cemented his rightful place in history as the club's greatest ever player.
His goalscoring feat at Anfield in midweek only added to an ever-growing list of accomplishments for the inspirational Reds skipper, less than a month after Gerrard lifted the Carling Cup at Wembley to end the club's six-year wait for a major trophy.
"Because of what he has done for the club, I believe he is the best," Carragher told the official Liverpool website. "Dalglish, Souness and Ian Rush all played together in a great team, but because football is a team game it's been harder for Stevie because he's not always played in great teams.
"For me, his performance in 2006 FA Cup final stands out even more than Ian Rush in the 1986 FA Cup final and he's also regularly produced it in the major events such as the 2005 Champions League final.
"None of the players who've played alongside him would dispute he's the best the club has ever had, and I would hope none of the managers would, either."
With the business end of the season fast approaching, and looking ahead to this summer's Euro 2012, Carragher has also backed his club teammate to lead England to glory in Poland and Ukraine.
The FA are yet to confirm a managerial appointment ahead of the tournament, and one of the head coach's first jobs will be to select a new permanent Three Lions captain.
The Liverpool vice-captain believes Gerrard is the obvious choice to assume the role, despite the fact he was overlooked by interim manager Stuart Pearce for the recent friendly defeat to Holland in favour of Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker.
"Scott Parker is a great player and everyone respects him, but Steven Gerrard should be England captain," Carragher added.
"He was captain in the World Cup, has been one of the best players for his country for 10 years and there was no debate to be had for me."
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