Liverpool Midfielder Steven Gerrard Hits A Hat-Trick To Sink Everton, So Should He Captain England? (VOTE)
Steven Gerrard scored three past Everton last night in what was the first Merseyside hat-trick in 30 years.
Not since Ian Rush bagged four in a 1982 5-0 rout of the Blues had a derby game seen a player claim the match ball. It was also the first at Anfield since Fred Howe achieved the feat in 1935.
Gleefully pointing to himself after Luis Suarez assisted his third (Stevie Me?), Gerrard reaffirmed his enduring importance to the club once more.
Absent for the back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Sunderland, although Luis Suarez is arguably the sole world-class player the Reds possess, it is Gerrard they still look to for inspiration.
Kenny Dalglish was effusive in his praise for Gerrard:
There was much outcry at Stuart Pearce overlooking him in favour of Scott Parker for the England captain's role two weeks ago, with some justification. Gerrard has 90 caps to Scott Parker's 11 and, crucially, tournament experience.
He was however found wanting in the role at South Africa. John Terry's mutinous press conference after the goalless Algeria draw saw England's number four not even bother to hit a return to a testing serve, as factions widened within the camp.
And the association with the so-called "golden generation" counts against him. He and his colleagues underachieved at international level, and Pearce's desire to make a clean break is understandable.
Yet Gerrard is a superior footballer than Parker. Whereas the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is reliant on stamina and grit, Gerrard can call upon strength and guile. Parker has played at the highest level for a fraction of his career, whereas Gerrard has for the majority of his 14-year career.
Irrespective of whether the Scouser regains the role for the European Championship, he is still integral to this England side.
He has made the modifications to his game that hitting 30 and injuries demands, but he still showed on Tuesday night that he packs that G-force which was pivotal to Liverpool's 2005 European Cup and 2006 FA Cup wins.
Maybe the burden of the captaincy would aid him. He had decent Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 campaigns - despite a nervous penalty in the shootout against Portugal in the latter - whereas David Beckham toiled under the (welcome) limelight.
The Whiston-born Liverpool legend turns 32 in May, but amidst the frenzied proceedings of a derby, Gerrard showed that age is as much of a barrier as a hurdle for Rock on Ruby.