London - England captain Steven Gerrard has acclaimed Liverpool team mate Luis Suarez as the best player in the world on current form.
In 12 appearances this season the red-hot Uruguay striker has scored 19 goals to fire Liverpool to the top of the Premier League. That is six more than his nearest rival, Argentina and Manchester City forward Sergio Augero.
Suarez's prolific streak has earned him a new long-term contract at Anfield where he has overcome widespread misgivings after several controversial incidents including one last season when he bit the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
“On current form he's the best player in the world,” Gerrard said of Suarez.
“Lionel Messi's out injured and Cristiano Ronaldo's had a bit of an injury of late,” the Liverpool skipper told Sky Sports television, referring to the number one players at Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
“He (Suarez) is certainly the best striker out there. He's proving that with his minutes-to-goals ratio.”
The Ivanovic incident resulted in a 10-match domestic suspension that meant the Liverpool striker missed the start of this season.
The 27-year-old Suarez has this season become the first Liverpool player to score at least twice in five consecutive home matches.
He is on course to surpass the Premier League record of 34 goals shared by former England strikers Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.
Cole achieved his haul with Newcastle United in 1993-94. Shearer's was with Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95.
“He will certainly push it close,” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers after Suarez bagged two goals in a 3-1 win over Cardiff City on Saturday. “He looks like he can score a hat-trick in every game.”
Liverpool visit Manchester City, who are one point behind the leaders in third place, on Thursday.