Pepe Reina described Steven Gerrard as an 'inspiration' to his teammates after watching the Liverpool captain fire a Merseyside derby hat-trick in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Everton.
The midfielder was at his talismanic best to put the Blues to the sword at Anfield on his 400th league appearance, becoming the first Reds player to score a top-flight treble against our neighbours since Ian Rush in 1982.
Reina told Liverpoolfc.tv: "Stevie is always a key player for us. He is an inspiration, on and off the pitch. He showed in the game he is fully fit now and he is coming back strong.
"We all love playing against Everton because they are special games. For local lads like Stevie, Spearo or Carra, those games mean a lot - and the rest of us know how important they are for the club."
Gerrard opened the scoring on 36 minutes with a composed left-foot lob that caught Everton 'keeper Tim Howard off his line having saved an inital effort from Martin Kelly.
The No.8 then doubled his tally with a thumping finish at the Kop end after Luis Suarez had ghosted past two Blues defenders in the area.
Suarez also created Gerrard's third, generously squaring across goal for the 31-year-old to put the seal on a night to remember deep into injury time.
And afterwards, Reina was also eager to highlight the Uruguayan's contribution.
He said: "Credit to Stevie, he was really good. He was at his best once again and fully deserved his hat-trick, although I would like to mention Luis (Suarez), especially for the third goal.
"Sometimes when a striker is not scoring they can be a little bit selfish, but he was totally unselfish in creating the goal."
The win ended Liverpool's sequence of three successive defeats in the Barclays Premier League, as well as Everton's nine-match unbeaten run.
Reina believes the Reds were good value for their comprehensive victory.
The Spain goalkeeper said: "I am very happy. A derby is a derby and a win means more than three points, especially for the people out there (the fans).
"It was an outstanding performance and we fully deserved the three points.
"I think we played really well. We controlled the game, didn't concede and I think overall it was a very fair result."
The result leaves Liverpool 10 points off fourth place in the Barclays Premier League with the same amount of matches left to play.
Reina continued: "It's difficult. You have to be realistic, but we will fight and we won't give up until the end.
"This team has got very strong character and we will keep fighting, that's for sure."
Next up for Liverpool is an FA Cup quarter-final tie against Stoke City at Anfield on Sunday.
Victory for the Reds would set up a return to Wembley next month for a semi-final, and having already tasted success at the national stadium this season, Reina is eager to go back.
He said: "We'll take it game by game. We have an even bigger game on Sunday against Stoke and it's another trophy we have a chance to win and that's what this football club wants.
"It's a cup final for us. It's a chance to go back to Wembley and that would make us all happy.
"We have all experienced this season what going to Wembley means and it would be very, very special to go back."