Derby boss Paul Jewell accused his players of being 'scared' of Liverpool before praising the killer instinct of Steven Gerrard.
The new Rams boss saw his side stage a brave fightback before going down 2-1 to the Merseysiders in their Barclays Premier League clash at Pride Park on Boxing Day.
The Rams were unlucky to lose to Gerrard's late winner after battling back to cancel out a Fernando Torres goal with Jay McEveley's second-half equaliser.
Jewell said: 'Gerrard kept going right to the end. People like Steven are not only top players, they are top athletes.
'Gerrard can run all day and it was no surprise that he was the one who won it for them in the final minutes, running from his own half. The ball eventually bounced off Gerrard's knee as Jay McEveley tried to clear.
'But you expect Gerrard to keep going like that. Top players are more concerned with what they do than how they look, and he is an example to all young players.'