Frank Lampard ahead of Steven Gerrard, says West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola
WEST HAM manager Gianfranco Zola would rather have former Chelsea team-mates Frank Lampard and John Terry in his team than Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.
Zola's side will come up against Gerrard at Anfield on Monday evening as the 28- year-old celebrates a decade in the Premier League.
Gerrard is often compared with Lampard - particularly when it comes to the national side - but Zola is in no doubt which of the two England midfielders he would want to play in his team.
"I'm very divided but I'd have to have John Terry and Frank Lampard, no disrespect to anyone else," said the former Blues striker. "I know them very well and they were fantastic players for Chelsea.
"Frank Lampard is an excellent player because he can defend, he can clear, he can help the team to create and he can finish it.
"He's a fantastic player to have in your team. He's excellent and also scores important goals in important matches. The same goes for Gerrard."
The 13th-placed Hammers have not won at Anfield since September 1963 and have a daunting task to beat Rafa Benitez's side, who are joint top with Chelsea.
The Liverpool attack will be blunted by the absence of Fernando Torres, but Zola believes Liverpool have equally dangerous players who can step in.
The 42-year-old Italian, known for his creative flair as a player, admits defence will take priority at Anfield but said they would not be sacrificing their usual attacking style too much.
"Torres is a very important player for them," Zola added. "I don't know whether they'll change the way they play but he is important for them.
"Liverpool have a big, big squad so if Torres doesn't play they can play (Robbie) Keane or (Ryan) Babel.
"So they'll still be a threat for us.
"They've got enough options to cause us problems so obviously we're going to try to stop them and play our game. They haven't lost at home yet so it's a huge challenge but the reward will be huge if we win.
"When you are a footballer you get so up for these big games. Plus it's going to be on television so it's huge for them.
"We are going to play our match the way we normally play. We're not a team that can go there and sit back and wait and wait.
"We have different qualities but obviously our defensive side is going to be vital. When you play a side better than you, you have to look after the defensive side of the game and that's what we've been focusing on this week.
"But we're not going to be sitting waiting for something to happen."