Jan Molby, Liverpool's most prolific penalty scorer, has offered an insight into what makes Steven Gerrard so ruthless from the spot.

Molby missed just three penalties during his time at Anfield en route to racking up a sensational total of 42 successful strikes.

Gerrard is currently just two behind that tally, having notched twice from 12 yards during Liverpool's 3-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday.

The skipper has scored nine penalties so far this season - each one driven unerringly beyond the grasp of the opposition stopper.

According to Molby, Gerrard has no need to indulge in mind games with the 'keeper when put on the spot, such is his precision and power in the strike.

"I think if you're a penalty taker, you enjoy the challenge [of taking one at Old Trafford]," Molby told the Liverpool Echo.

"You don't want to miss any but there is added pressure. Gerrard is kind of built towards becoming a better penalty taker.

"He's a great striker of the ball and he's maybe not one of those who might wait for the goalkeeper to make his move. Some wait and go the other way, but he uses his skill of being a great kicker of the ball."

The Liverpool captain was handed the opportunity to emulate Molby's feat of scoring three penalties in one match when Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot for a third time on Sunday.

Molby netted a treble of successful spot-kicks against Coventry City in the League Cup fourth round in November 1986, on the day a young Gerrard attended Anfield for the very first time.

While the woodwork denied Gerrard what would have been a sweet hat-trick in United's back yard at the weekend, the damage had already been done at Old Trafford.

"Stevie will be disappointed because the opportunity to write yourself into the history books doesn't come along too often," said Molby.

"He probably just got a little over confident, but if you're going to miss a penalty, you may as well miss the one where it doesn't matter. But of course there's more pressure at Old Trafford. I mean Coventry is a whole different thing to Man United, isn't it?"