Carroll salutes Gerrard's influence
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll feels fortunate to play alongside a player as influential as Steven Gerrard.
The Reds captain has been the club's driving force for the best part of a decade and is still the man they turn to when they are in need of a lift. It was no more evident than in the Merseyside derby a fortnight ago, when Gerrard scored a hat-trick as Liverpool beat near neighbours Everton 3-0.
"You see Stevie playing the way he did against Everton, scoring three and driving the team on. It was really inspiring," said Carroll. "I used to watch him when I was younger and pretend to be him on the field with my mates. I'm very lucky to be able to share a dressing room with him now. It's unbelievable."
Unfortunately for Liverpool, the England midfielder alone has not been able to drag the team out of their current slump. The win over Everton was only one of two in the Barclays Premier League so far in 2012 and five defeats in six matches have put paid to their slim hopes of finishing in the top four.
February's Carling Cup triumph, the club's first trophy for six years, has ensured not all the gloss has been taken off a season which began with high hopes, and there could be further silverware to come as an FA Cup semi-final awaits next month.
Gerrard has won every major club honour except the Premier League title and with his 32nd birthday approaching in May, time may be running out on that front.
Carroll still sees the determination burning bright in Gerrard, adding in LFC magazine: "He's had an amazing career but you still know he's desperate to achieve more. It's the hunger you see every day, the determination to win more games, win medals and trophies."
Gerrard's reputation extends much further than the confines of England - or even Europe for that matter. Liverpool's Uruguay centre-back Sebastian Coates knew about the midfielder's talents long before he joined the club last summer from Nacional in his homeland.
"His reputation is worldwide," said the 21-year-old centre-back on liverpoolfc.tv. "When I was younger in Uruguay I would see a lot of the Champions League games that Liverpool were involved in. He was always so influential, putting in some fantastic performances.
"He is the kind of player that everybody hopes to one day call a team-mate."