Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has been better for Liverpool than Luis Suarez, according to Tommy Smith. REUTERS

Tommy Smith insists that while Luis Suarez has made a brilliant contribution to the Liverpool line up this season, the striker isn't the best in the squad, with the former Red claiming Steven Gerrard should take the honours.

Suarez is currently the Premier League's top scorer, with his side looking to show they are a serious contender for trophies again after collapsing out of the Champions League in 2010.

The Uruguay international's performances have led his Liverpool teammates, manager and supporters to argue that he should take the player of the year award, but Smith had other thoughts in the Liverpool Echo.

"Everyone is talking about Luis Suarez as a potential winner of Footballer of the Year but for me he's only Liverpool's second best player," he said.

"Suarez has scored a lot of goals this season but in terms of overall performances I still think Steven Gerrard has got the edge.

"Steven has played every minute of every league game which is amazing considering the injury problems he'd had over the previous two seasons.

"That central midfield area is so important and the captain has been crucial to Liverpool's upturn in form."

Smith also argued that Gerrard's influence on the other players in the Liverpool squad has made him the most important member of the club this season, with Stewart Downing finding his strengths under the influence of the star midfielder.

"Some of Steven's attitude appears to have rubbed off on Stewart Downing and it's great to see," he explained.

"At the start of the season Downing was out of the team and when he did play he was awful.

"But the manager gave him a few home truths and the penny dropped with Downing that if want to play for this club you need to play with energy and heart."