Gerrard the best midfielder: Benitez

Liverpool, September 20:

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has described Steven Gerrard as “the best midfielder in the world” ahead of a weekend which could see the Reds to the top of the Premier League.

With leaders Chelsea not in action until Sunday’s showdown with Manchester United, Liverpool will pull clear at the top if they beat Stoke City at Anfield.

After scoring both goals in Liverpool’s 2-1 Champions League win in Marseille in midweek, Gerrard needs one more to complete a century of goals for his hometown club. “Ninety-nine goals is amazing for a midfielder,” said Benitez.

“But he can score more, maybe get close to doubling his current tally if he takes the penalties as well! He scores great goals that few other players can manage. We are lucky to have the best midfielder in the world.”

Liverpool are on a high after beating Manchester United last week before being inspired by Gerrard to a winning start to their European campaign. But Benitez acknowledged that Stoke pose a serious threat including the long throws that Rory Delap fires into opposing penalty areas with remarkable velocity.