Stoke City's Matthew Etherington recognised the Potters were out-classed in Wednesday night's 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, and reserved special praise for Steven Gerrard.
The former West Ham United wide-man said in the Stoke Sentinel, “They’ve got world-class players, especially when you see what Gerrard did for their third goal.
“I don’t think the best defender in the world would have expected him to do that. It was certainly the last thing I was expecting."
However, the 28-year-old felt that the scoreline was a harsh reflection on Stoke.
He added, “It probably is an unfair score when you look at it. But from the moment we conceded a goal so early in the game, it was always going to be an uphill task against a team of that quality.
“Just before they scored their second, shortly before half-time, we had a sustained period of pressure and I thought we were playing pretty well.
“That second goal killed us a bit, but again I think we did well before their third goal. I suppose that finished it then.”
Richard Cresswell was assigned as a man-marker on Liverpool's Glen Johnson, but could not prevent the £17 million man scoring on his home debut, and Etherington was impressed with the former Portsmouth right-back.
“He’s come on leaps and bounds. I remember playing against him for Tottenham reserves against West Ham reserves a few years back,” added Etherington.
“He’s now a top-class attacking full-back and everyone can see how good he now is for Liverpool and England.”
John Silk, Goal.com