Sir Alex Ferguson harsh on Steven Gerrard - Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has defended captain Steven Gerrard after Sir Alex Ferguson claimed he is not a "top, top player".

Former Manchester United manager Ferguson made the comment in his book, My Autobiography, but Rodgers said the criticism was unjustified.

Steven Gerrard in numbers

Age: 33

Squad number: 8

Liverpool games: 640

Liverpool goals: 161

England games: 107

England goals: 21

"I think everyone who's seen the comments will think they are harsh," Rodgers told talkSPORT.

Gerrard led England to qualification for the World Cup this month.

Ex-Swansea boss Rodgers, who took over at Liverpool in 2012, added: "I've watched Gerrard for many years and recognised he's a top player, but it's only when you come in and work with the man that you realise how professional he is on a daily basis.

"His performance level at 33 years of age shows he's a top, top player. He's a great talent - a wonderful player - and I don't think anyone could argue against that."

Ferguson book distasteful - Savage

Rodgers also praised striker Daniel Sturridge, who has scored 10 goals in 12 games in all competitions for Liverpool and England this season.

"He's been brilliant," Rodgers said of the £12m signing from Chelsea. "He's come here in January with a point to prove. He's very hungry and his goals-per-game ratio has been remarkable.

"Daniel's a player who produces. He's a natural goalscorer, but he's got so many other things to his game: pace, power and great feet. In the next few years he could be one of the top strikers in Europe."