Danny Murphy has hailed Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson as the "complete midfielder".
Henderson is enjoying a fantastic season as the Reds seek their first league title since 1990.
The former Sunderland man has become an integral part of Jurgen Klopp's side, having started 17 of 21 Premier League games this term.
However, the England international struggled to adapt to life at Anfield early on in his Liverpool career.
And Murphy believes playing alongside Steven Gerrard between 2011 and 2015 made life difficult for Henderson.
“It has not always been plain sailing for Henderson at Anfield, and I think he suffered at first from being compared to Steven Gerrard - which was unfair," the former Liverpool midfielder told BBC Sport.
“That was an easy thing to say when he signed aged 20 in 2011, because he was a young England midfielder, but he was not like Gerrard, because no one is.
“It was always going to be impossible for him to live up to that. As a player he is the best he can be, but he will never be able to do the things that Gerrard did.
“Playing alongside Gerrard at first was not very helpful because when you are around one of the best midfielders there has ever been, you are never going to look as good as him.
“It is only since Gerrard left in 2015, and the team started evolving under Jurgen Klopp, that people have been able to see Henderson's own qualities.
“At 29, he has grown into a complete midfielder, and is a fantastic example of someone making the absolute maximum out of their ability.”
Liverpol will be looking to maintain or extend their 14-point advantage at the top of the table when they renew hostilities with arch-rivals Manchester United to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
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