Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has praised skipper Steven Gerrard, claiming the 32-year-old is the best midfielder he has ever with played with. The England captain completed a momentous double for both club and country in recent weeks, capping his 600th appearance for the Reds (against Newcastle United) with his 100th cap for England in the midweek defeat to Sweden.
"I've got huge respect for him. He's a real legend at this club, for many reasons; the time he's been at the club, for all what he has given for the club, for the great team-mate he is, for all the years and all those 600 games he's played here, which is by no means an easy thing to achieve at a club like Liverpool, and for his modesty and the classy person he is," Suarez explained to Liverpool's official website.
The Uruguayan international also hailed Gerrard's love for and dedication to the club, despite being linked with a number of other top European clubs throughout his career. The midfielder first joined the Anfield club when he was nine years old, and made his first-team debut at the age of 18. Suarez feels the club will struggle to replace their captain, when he decides to call time on his career.
"He has always shown utmost respect to the club and has always remained here out of his love for the club, and for me he is the best midfielder I've ever seen play or been able to play alongside. I can't speak about the years before I was born or before I can remember, but I don't think that the club will ever have another player like Steven Gerrard," the Uruguayan striker added.
Gerrard has made 602 appearances for Liverpool and scored 152 goals. During his career with the club, he has won two FA Cups, three League Cups and a UEFA Cup and, of course, that famous Champions League win in the 2004/05 season. The only major club trophy missing from his cabinet is the Premier League. Unfortunately, based on the Reds' present form, it is difficult to see that changing in the near future.
And it isn't just Suarez who is thankful the England man is still around. New coach Brendan Rodgers has also spoken of his admiration for Gerrard.
"I am glad he stayed. I've been given the chance to work with a great man and a great footballer, and Steven has just made his 600th appearance for Liverpool. That's a phenomenal achievement at a club of this stature," the former Swansea City boss said, after the 1-1 draw against Newcastle and Gerrard's landmark 600th appearance.