Song excited to face boyhood hero Gerrard

West Ham midfielder Alex Song is excited to test himself against boyhood idol Steven Gerrard on Saturday.

Song, on loan at West Ham from Barcelona, is tipped to go head-to-head with Liverpool stalwart Gerrard in their Premier League fixture at Upton Park.

And the Cameroon midfielder said he has idolised Gerrard since seeing him play with his cousin, Rigobert Song, who played a lone season at Anfield in 1999-2000.

"I went to watch my first game in England there [at Anfield] and I will never forget it – the fans were unbelievable," Song recalled.

"It was crazy because I took some pictures with the players – I still have the picture I took with Robbie Fowler.

"Then Rigo gave me Gerrard's shirt from that day and I have kept it. I used to train in it every single day. I have still got the shirt.

"When you are young and someone gives you a shirt, you have to keep it. My son has it.

"I got three shirts that day – Fowler and Michael Owen too – but I was lucky to have Gerrard's shirt."

The former Arsenal man, 27, also claimed Gerrard was more important to Brendan Rodgers' side than the departed Luis Suarez, who joins Song in being owned by Barcelona.

"I like Stevie's style and the way he plays," he added.

"I always try to watch the best players in my position and try to learn. Gerrard is one of the players I was watching when I was young.

"I think Gerrard is the best player I've ever seen in a Liverpool shirt for me. He is more important to Liverpool than Suarez.

"It is very important to have those kind of loyal players who play for Liverpool for a long time. It is a very different team when Gerrard is not in it."