Jan Molby

Gerrard: The greatest or the most important?

Jan Molby

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Steven Gerrard was honoured at a Football Writers' dinner on Sunday, where Jamie Carragher said he is the greatest player ever to represent Liverpool.

I think he would have to be in anyone's top three or five, but there are others with a claim to the title - for a long time Kenny Dalglish was acknowledged as the best.

It is hard to compare between different eras and different teams - there's no doubt that Gerrard played in lesser sides to Kenny and had an amazing ability to put the team on his back and carry them to victory on his own.

Those Liverpool teams of the last 70s and early 80s were so good that if you had taken Kenny away, I think they would have coped. They wouldn't have been quite the same, but they would still have won trophies.

It was probably the same with John Barnes, who the whole squad recognised as our best player when I was at Liverpool.

His skill level was amazing - far above Steven Gerrard's - but again, if we played without him we were still favourites for pretty much every game.

In terms of influence, nobody can touch Gerrard. More than any other Liverpool player, he had those heroic moments - the goal against Olympiakos, the Champions League final, the FA Cup final.

So it's impossible for me to say he is the best Liverpool player ever.

I think a better way of putting it is he is the most important. He means more to the team than anyone in Liverpool's history.

When we look back at his career, some people might talk about a lack of fulfilment.

He hasn't won a league title, and there's no real prospect of that changing before he retires.

If he had jumped ship, maybe he would have won more trophies, but I respect the loyalty he showed.

He has spent his career with the only team he ever played for. He has had some great moments and quite a few disappointments, but I don't think he regrets staying.

He came very close to joining Chelsea in 2005, and it is intriguing to think how that might have worked out.

He has had his struggles playing with Frank Lampard, but I don't think that would have been a problem.

With Mourinho in charge, I'm sure they would have found a way. There is a big difference between international football and club level, where you train with players every day and develop a real rapport.

While I think he would have been a success, and won titles, he probably wouldn't have had the same standout moments sharing the limelight with Lampard, Didier Drogba, John Terry and the rest.

Although his trophy cabinet is emptier having stayed, everything he has won he has contributed to enormously and can take maximum satisfaction.

Different players have different goals. Samir Nasri, for example, left Arsenal for Manchester City because he wanted to win the Premier League. He has done that - but how much did he really contribute? Could they have won the title without him?

Those questions could nag at him. I imagine Fernando Torres feels the same way about his 2010 World Cup winners' medal. He played every game, but his overall performance was poor - it's probably a bittersweet memory.

I expect he looks back much more fondly on his medal from Euro 2008, when he was electric.

Steven Gerrard can have no regrets from his career. He has played for the team he loves, won some silverware - even if it is not as much as he wanted - and produced some magic moments.

He richly deserves his place among the Liverpool legends.

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