Lucas: Gerrard has edge over Kaka
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva believes captain Steven Gerrard is a more complete player than Brazil superstar Kaka.
Gerrard, who will captain England against Egypt at Wembley on Wednesday, has been well short of his best form this season.
His goal against Blackburn on Sunday was only his eighth for the club this season, having scored 24 in the previous campaign when Liverpool ran Manchester United a very close second for the Premier League title.
But even taking that into account, Lucas insists Gerrard has the all-round game to make him one of the world's greatest.
"There are similarities with Kaka and Stevie but Stevie makes more of a contribution all over the pitch," said the 23-year-old, an international team-mate of Real Madrid forward Kaka.
"Stevie is more complete in that sense because he can attack but also defend just as well.
"This is probably because Stevie has experience playing in a number of positions earlier in his career."
Lucas added in LFC Weekly: "Even now, he is so good, he could probably play anywhere."
The Brazilian midfielder is by no means a fans' favourite and regularly comes in for criticism for not being of the standard to warrant a regular first-team place.
However, manager Rafael Benitez sees him as a key member and, along with Dirk Kuyt and goalkeeper Jose Reina, has played him in every Premier League match this season.
Lucas has freely admitted his Liverpool career, which began with a move from Brazilian side Gremio in July 2007, had inauspicious beginnings but he now feels he is contributing more to the side.
"Since I have been at Liverpool there have been quite a few knocks," he said.
"This season I have played more games and that has pleased me. But it isn't about me, it's about the club doing well.
"Winning the league isn't possible so we need to finish in the top four.
"That is more important than any personal statistics or achievements I have made.
"This year has been really difficult for the team but we have improved a lot in the last 10 games, especially defensively.
"It is clear we have not scored enough but we have become difficult to beat again.
"Over the next month we have quite a lot of home games against teams from the bottom half of the league, while our rivals for fourth have more difficult fixtures on paper.
"Maybe this will help us out."
Reina has been Liverpool's best player this term and his form has been key to their recent defensive improvement.
The Spain international jointly leads the race for the Premier League Golden Glove - which he has won four out of the last five seasons - with injured Chelsea keeper Petr Cech as both have 12 clean sheets.
"There is nothing easy in the Premier League and we have to carry on with the same shape," he said.
"I think we are a stronger defensive unit and we can do better things now.
"It's a long race but there are a few games to play and nothing will be decided until the last fixture."
Reina also welcomed the return to fitness of compatriot Fernando Torres, who marked his first start since January 13 with the winning goal against Blackburn on Sunday.
Torres' partnership with Gerrard is, according to Reina, crucial to Liverpool's fortunes.
"That is the difference between us and any other side," he added.
"We have them and they are world-class players. As long as we have them it will be absolutely brilliant.
"It's very important to have Fernando back. It's not just his goals. His presence worries the opposition and this allows space for Stevie, Yossi Benayoun and, as you saw against Blackburn, Maxi Rodriguez (who set up Torres' goal)."