Brendan Rodgers says Sir Alex Ferguson is probably the only person in the game who does not think that Steven Gerrard is a "top, top player."
The Liverpool manager has hit back at the former Manchester United boss after the Scot made the "incredible" claim in his new autobiography. Ferguson's assessment, which included the view that Gerrard has not reached the level of midfielders such as Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, has sparked heated debate.
But Rodgers insists the 71-year-old's opinion is just plain wrong. "Sir Alex might be the only one or one of the very, very few who doesn't think Gerrard is a top, top player," said Rodgers. "I don't think it was credible, what was said. You only need to look at Steven's career to see that; the accolades he has received throughout his life, not just from managers but from other top, top players.
Rodgers added: "I saw a survey of the player of the year during all the years it has been operating and the player who won that survey as the best was Steven. That was from players and supporters and there were some prestigious names on there. He may not have won the title but that is more because of the teams he has been in. He is world class and still operates at a high level."
There have been suggestions that Ferguson's assessment was deliberately provocative as it was bound to upset United's long-time rivals Liverpool and win admiration from some of the Old Trafford faithful. However, if Rodgers could brush off that jibe, he was angry about the claim, also in the Scot's autobiography, that Jordan Henderson would struggle later in his career because of his running style.
"I was bitterly disappointed," said Rodgers. "Sir Alex is somebody who obviously works with young players and nurtured young players so the statement made about Jordan was inappropriate. This is a young guy who I have worked with now for over a season and you won't get a more honest player to work with as a manager or coach.
"He is fighting for his career in the game. He comes in here every day and gives everything. In the time he has been here he has improved and improved and improved. There was reference to his running style, but every player is different and over their career physical and technical qualities will improve. I'm sure if they bump into each other, Sir Alex will apologize for that."