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Feb 21, 2013

Gerrard: Only one or two beat Suarez

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Luis Suarez's performances this season put him alongside the finest players in world football.

• Blog: Chance to unite Anfield

Suarez has excelled under Brendan Rodgers this season, scoring 18 Premier League goals, and Gerrard said only one or two players could say they had done more.

"For me he's been player of the year, across this league and a lot more leagues," he told BBC Radio Merseyside. "There are probably only one or two people who you could say have been better than him this season."

Asked how much better he can get, he replied: "I'm not sure, but it's a scary thought if he does improve on how he's been performing this season."

Gerrard was speaking ahead of the Europa League second-leg clash with Zenit St Petersburg at Anfield, with Liverpool having to overturn a 2-0 defeat in Russia if they are to progress. He believes Suarez, 26, is capable of inspiring a turnaround.

"You remember top players for games like this - important goals and big performances that turn situations in your favour," Gerrard said. "I'd love nothing better than for this game to be decided on a bit of magic or brilliance from him. With the season he's had, I think he does deserve it."

Despite Suarez's efforts, Liverpool have endured an often frustrating campaign. They have exited both domestic cups, face an uphill battle to stay in the Europa League and sit nine points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League.

Gerrard accepts there has been a lack of consistency but believes there is cause for significant optimism.

"We're playing fantastic football and we're performing really well, but it seems as if we're taking two or three steps forward and then one back," he added. "That's because of individual errors throughout the team and I think we've all been guilty of that at various stages of the season.

"There have been performances that have been up there with the best I've experienced as a Liverpool player. We've blown teams away and we've murdered teams in possession. If they were boxing matches, the towel would have gone in before the final whistle.

"But the frustrating thing is that on the back of those fantastic performances, this team hasn't turned up or we've made stupid schoolboy errors which have led to bad results. They're the performances we need to eradicate if we're going to become a top side and mix it with the best, both domestically and in Europe."

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