Luis Garcia believes the greatness of his former teammate and captain, Steven Gerrard, goes beyond the annals of Liverpool history – instead, the Spaniard ranks the No.8 with the finest players of all time.

The two men, who remain friends despite the former's departure from the club in 2007, shared an Anfield dressing room for three seasons and mutually tasted the glory of Champions League and FA Cup success.

Garcia called time on his own career in January of this year, yet, a decade after he first worked in tandem on the pitch with Gerrard, the Reds' skipper remains the central engine of what is now Brendan Rodgers' side.

The 33-year-old has been the heartbeat of a surge which has carried Liverpool to a five-point advantage in the Barclays Premier League table with just three games remaining in the campaign.

"You can see what this means to Steven with his performances on the pitch," Garcia, who scored 30 goals in 121 appearances for the Reds, told the Liverpool Echo.

"He's in the last few years of his career and he knows there aren't many chances left for him to win the Premier League.

"Now he's got the chance right there and he deserves it. He has been one of the best players in the history of football, not just in terms of Liverpool.

"It's amazing to think how important he was to Liverpool when we won the Champions League and how important he still is all these years on.

"I heard what Zinedine Zidane said recently about how Steven was the complete midfielder and could have played for anyone in Europe. He's right.

"He's a player every club would love to have in their team and he deserves this kind of title."

[LFC_VIDEO_PLAYER_0]

Garcia rarely misses an opportunity to catch his old employers in action and regularly tweets his delight with the performances produced by Gerrard and co under the guidance of Rodgers.

The one-time tricky attacker briefly met the manager earlier this week, when he returned to Merseyside to participate in the 'Celebration of the 96' charity encounter at Anfield.

Like most, the former Spain international has been thoroughly impressed by the Northern Irishman's approach and the remarkable consequences of his football philosophy.

Garcia added: "Like every Liverpool fan, I have enjoyed this great season. They are going to make history - I believe they will win the title.

"There were many people who doubted them a few months ago and were waiting for Liverpool to slip up, but it hasn't happened.

"Even when they didn't have the best of games, they continued winning. They deserve the title because they have been so consistent.

"I met Brendan for the first time before the legends game. He said: 'Hi, Luis, how are you?' I felt like he was an old friend!

"That's important as a manager. Yes, you have to be serious and you have to make the players work hard but after that to be a human being is very important.

"I can see why players enjoy playing for him and how he gets the best out of them.

"I think something is building here. Liverpool are building a new era under Brendan. Hopefully for the next few years they will be at the top and fighting for big titles."