Jamie Carragher has lauded Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard in the wake of his hat-trick against Everton and believes the midfielder is a more rounded plaer than Manchester United greats Paul Scholes and Roy Keane.
Gerrard scored in the first half and then twice more after the break as the Reds demolished their city rivals 3-0 at Anfield on Tuesd
It was the first hat-trick in a Merseyside derby since Ian Rush scored four in Liverpool's 5-0 win at Goodison Park in 1982, and Carragher insists his team-mates achievements deserve wider recognition.
"We all know he's in the upper echelons when it comes to Liverpool players, with most having him either first or second behind Kenny Dalglish, but when you look at a list of the greats to play in English football I'd say he is second only to Bobby Charlton in terms of the best midfielders there have ever been," Carragher is quoted in the Telegraph.
"You'd put Charlton No1 not only for his achievements with Manchester United, but because of the World Cup in 1966. Beyond that you'd have Graeme Souness, Alan Ball, Dave Mackay, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Glenn Hoddle, Gazza, Frank Lampard and Bryan Robson. For me, Stevie has eclipsed all of those for what he has done for Liverpool and England."
After Tuesday's victory, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish admitted he was struggling to find the right words to describe Gerrard's performance and Carragher backed up his manager, saying the midfielder's influence would likely only be appreciated when he retired.
"In their era, the First Division was full of the best players in Britain, but now the Premier League has many of the best players in the world. I definitely think it's a case with Stevie that people will not fully realise how good he has been until he stops playing," the Liverpool defender added.
"It's been harder for him in many ways because when you spend an entire career at one club, the supporters see you as a youngster, remember all the mistakes you've made growing up and then when you get towards the end start to ask if you're the same player anymore. Even the great Liverpool players didn't have that because they didn't join until later or left before they were finished."
Meanwhile, Gerrard himself has not given up on Liverpool making a late push for a Champions League spot, despite trailing fourth-placed Arsenal by 10 points.
With just 10 games of the season remaining Gerrard acknowledged it was a tough sell to overtake Arsene Wenger's side but said he will not give up hope of securing qualification.
"It's a mountain to climb but we will never give up," Gerrard is quoted in the Guardian.
"We just have to try to win as many games as we can and see where it takes us. We won't give up on the top four until its impossible. You can talk about luck, things not going your way, but you have to take responsibility for putting the ball in the back of the net and against Everton it worked out for us."