Malouda - Lampard is the best
Florent Malouda believes that team-mate Frank Lampard is a better midfielder than Steven Gerrard.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 07/04/09 10:17am
Florent Malouda believes that Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard is a better midfielder than Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard.
The French winger has stoked the fire ahead of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg clash between the two sides at Anfield on Wednesday.
Lampard scored his 17th goal of the season in the 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday and the former Lyon ace insists his goalscoring record makes him stand out from his rivals.
The two England internationals will go head-to-head for the fifth time in five seasons in the Champions League and despite many championing Gerrard as a possible PFA Player of the Year Malouda is in no doubt who he would rather have in his side.
"Who is best midfielder in the Premier League? For me it is Frank Lampard. I would never say Steven Gerrard," he said.
"Frank is so special because he is always focused on the opposition goal. He is always running and full of energy.
Difficult to stop
"But his game is not just about scoring goals. He comes from deep positions and that is why it is very difficult to keep him quiet.
"He is always moving and always seems to score. He is running midfield but seems to have the mentality of a striker. He is never happy if he doesn't score."
The France international admitted that the Lampard-Gerrard clash will be key in the quarter-final but added that it would not be the only important battle on the pitch.
"Against Liverpool last season in the Champions League semi-final he was really important for us," he added.
"He is full of confidence and has the freedom to play and can make the difference. That fight with Gerrard will be one of the keys but it won't be the only battle out there.
"Against Liverpool every player has to make the difference but the game coming up is very exciting.
"We have to put every challenge in and show a lot of discipline. It will be really tight because there are world class players in every position.
"We have to keep our discipline in both games and that will get us through."
Liverpool beat the Blues 2-0 at Anfield in the Premier League at the start of February, then under the leadership of Luiz Felipe Scolari, but Malouda insists that playing Chelsea under Guus Hiddink is a different proposition.
"It is never easy to play against Liverpool but something has changed to our team since the last two games we played against them earlier this season," he explained.
"What has changed with us is the confidence and the discipline we are showing. Our top, key players are now more confident. We saw that when we played away at Anfield in our last game there.
"The final five minutes were difficult to take as they scored two goals but we are much more confident going there now and our game is in much better shape.
"There is a lot of quality in the squad and the manager gives us a lot of confidence even when we have bad results and he tells us to play to our qualities."