Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Steven Gerrard is “made for the Champions League” after the Reds captain scored a crucial second goal against Inter Milan on Tuesday.
Leading through Dirk Kuyt’s 85th-minute effort, most of the team had settled for the slender victory but Gerrard had other ideas.
In the final minute of normal time the England midfielder picked up the ball wide on the right, cut inside and fired a low 20-yard shot which went in off the post to hand Liverpool a huge advantage to take into the second leg of the first knockout round in the San Siro in three weeks’ time.
Gerrard has been criticised in the past for not transferring his club form to the international stage against some of the world’s best teams but Carragher believes his team-mate always raises his game when faced with quality opposition.
“We would have been delighted at 1-0 but to get the second with a great goal by Stevie was the icing on the cake,” said the centre-back.
“He’s one of the best players in the world and I think he is made for the Champions League, when all the top teams come up against us.
“You see some of the names they (Inter) have got and he is the one that does the decisive thing at the end of the game.
“There were a lot of world class players out there on both teams and he stole the show again.”
There was pressure on the team going into the match and Carragher said that increased the moment former Everton defender Marco Materazzi was sent off in the 30th minute for a second bookable offence.
Faced with 10 men the hosts were expected to go on and win but had to wait patiently until five minutes from time to end Inter’s resistance.
“You do (worry the breakthrough will not come) but as a defender you have to make sure the back door is closed. We can’t really get involved in what is going on up front,” he added.
“It was important not to concede a goal in the home leg, especially as we were playing it first. It was a big thing on our minds at 1-0 not to let one in.”