Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has heaped praise on injured skipper Steven Gerrard, insisting that he is the best midfielder in England.
The 30-year-old recently fell prey to a recurrent groin injury that has necessitated further surgery, and as a result he has now been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The Liverpool fans' favourite is also expected to be sidelined for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley in June, with specialists suggesting that the Reds' pre-season training programme is likely to mark his return to action.
"I'd like to give Liverpool captain Steve Gerrard a plug at what is a difficult time for him with injuries," Dalglish said on the club's official website.
"Steven is the best, full stop. I've known him for years, but it's only since January I've had the privilege to work with him up close.
"He has been fantastic and often puts his club, and country, before himself and he has played when maybe he shouldn't have.
"The work he has put in to get himself fit has been incredible. He has put his body through the mincer to play and deserves a bit of luck over injuries.
"Hopefully the prolonged break to rest his groin injury will see him return as strong as ever and still the best midfielder in England."
EA Sports have simulated Monday's forthcoming fixture on Fifa '11, and there's no doubt it proved to be a closely contested encounter on Merseyside. Click Play and check out the action, and be sure to leave your prediction in the comments area below...