Suarez is the ‘player of the year’, claims Liverpool captain Gerrard

The midfielder believes that the Uruguay star has been one of the best footballers in the world this season and hopes that he can conjure up some magic to beat Zenit at Anfield

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has heaped praise on team-mate Luis Suarez, insisting that the Uruguayan striker has been the “player of the year”.

The 26-year-old, who cost the Reds £22.7 million back in 2011 and was shortlisted for the FIFPro World XI in 2012, has bagged an impressive 23 goals this term, including a haul of 18 in the Premier League.

“For me he’s been player of the year, across this league and a lot more leagues,” Gerrard told BBC Sport.

“There are probably only one or two people who you could say have been better than him this season.

“How much better can he get? I’m not sure, but it’s a scary thought if he does improve on how he’s been performing this season.”

Brendan Rodgers’s side trail Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 ahead of the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie at Anfield on Thursday and the England skipper is hoping Suarez can produce a bit of magic to keep the fixture alive.

“You remember top players for games like this – important goals and big performances that turn situations in your favour,” Gerrard added.

“We’re all there behind him as well – he’s not on his own – but I’d love nothing better than for this game to be decided on a bit of magic or brilliance from him.

“With the season he’s had, I think he does deserve it.”

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