Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has warned critics not to write off Steven Gerrard.
The Reds captain's return from groin surgery in March has been delayed because of an infection and he will not feature until next month at the earliest.
However, Carragher has stressed no one should think the 31-year-old midfielder will start to struggle at the highest level as age catches up with him.
"There's still plenty more to come from Steven Gerrard," said the centre-back, veteran of the team at 33.
"He's one of the best, if not the best, player to play in the Premier League over the past decade.
"When Stevie is back playing it will be like we've just signed a great new player.
"He's still got four or five years ahead of him to play for Liverpool."
Carragher said Gerrard brought so much more to the team than just his displays on the pitch and he was keen for the England international to return as soon as possible.
"It's a great honour to lead the team out but the fact is I'd prefer not to be doing it because like everyone else I want our captain back," the vice-captain told the Liverpool Echo.
"I speak to Stevie all the time and he's desperate to get back involved. The quicker he is back the better.
"We missed him at the back end of last season and having him back will give everyone a massive boost.
"It will give a lift to the supporters and to the new players who have come in this summer.
"The new lads will have heard so much about him but they haven't had the chance to train with him yet.
"To get to play and train with Stevie will be great for them and I'm sure that will help their development."
Carragher also hopes January signing Luis Suarez can start the new season as he finished the old one.
The Uruguay international, who was instrumental in his country's Copa America win last month, returned to training yesterday after an extended break.
He was arguably Liverpool's best player in the second half of the previous campaign, having arrived from Ajax for £22.8million.
His goals, creativity and general attitude were a major factor in the revival begun by Kenny Dalglish when he took over from Roy Hodgson in early January.
Now Carragher hopes the 24-year-old can pick up where he left off, having scored four goals in 13 matches but having offered so much more to the team.
"I'm desperate for him to have another great season," said Carragher.
"I watched him in the Copa America and he was excellent.
"Hopefully he can carry that form on for us. If he does then he will be one of the standout players in the Premier League this season.
"The best foreign players deliver straight away and Luis has proved he's in that top bracket."Reuse content