Meireles relishing Gerrard link-up
Published 21/09/2010 | 10:57
New Liverpool signing Raul Meireles is looking forward to forming a fruitful partnership with captain Steven Gerrard, a player he rates as one of the top three midfielders in Europe.
The former Porto star moved to Anfield just days before the close of the August transfer window after manager Roy Hodgson spent £10.7m of the proceeds of Javier Mascherano's sale to Barcelona.
He has only played twice with Gerrard - with one of those appearances for just for 14 minutes as a substitute at Birmingham - and knows their on-field relationship can only improve.
Hodgson has admitted he does not yet know where the Portugal international's best position is, having played him largely in the advanced role usually taken by Gerrard.
But Meireles knows he has a long way to go to start emulating the Liverpool captain, whom he holds in the highest regard.
"For a long time, I have said that Gerrard is one of the top three midfielders in the European game," said the 27-year-old.
"Along with Michael Essien of Chelsea and Andres Iniesta of Barcelona, he has been the most difficult opponent I have faced over the years.
"Now I am his team-mate. I think we can combine well together."
Meireles said he understands Gerrard's passion in playing for his hometown club as he felt the same at Porto prior to his move.
"I can sympathise with people like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher because, like me, they are players who have played for the major club in their city," he told LFC Weekly.
"That brings pressures that are difficult to deal with because when things go wrong, the local players sometimes feel the frustrations of the supporters a lot more."