The ex-Reds boss handed Gerrard his Liverpool debut against Blackburn Rovers in 1998, before appointing the England international as the club’s captain in 2003.
Houllier, who led the Reds to the League Cup, FA Cup and Uefa Cup in 2001, considers Gerrard to be in the same class as France legends Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane.
“In the top three [players I’ve coached], definitely. You have different levels of players,” Houllier told Liverpool’s website.
“There’s are Premier League, international and world-class levels. The world-class level is players at the peak of their career and there’s only maybe 50 maximum in the whole world.
“Stevie moved from a Premier League player to an international player and then world class. You win things with world-class players.
“I was lucky enough to have Stevie at the right time when I was at Liverpool, and even when I left they won the Champions League. He played a major part in that.”
Gerrard is expected to make his 600th Liverpool appearance against Newcastle United on Sunday, and Houllier believes the midfielder is up there with the club’s greatest icon in Kenny Dalglish.
“When you see the number of trophies that Steven has won it compares to Kenny’s trophies. Stevie is Liverpool,” added Houllier.
“I don’t like to compare generations. They are different players and they brought different qualities to Liverpool.
“I would have liked to have had both Stevie and Kenny in the same team!”
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