The Spaniard spent six years in charge at Anfield, during which time he guided the Reds to a memorable Champions League win in 2005. Gerrard captained the side during the entirety of Benitez's reign, while also scoring 185 times in 710 games for his boyhood club.
Gerrard is generally considered to be one of the greatest midfielders the Premier League has ever seen. Benitez was full of praise for the former Liverpool superstar.
“I know Lampard but I know much better Gerrard. I was six years with him and he was the best player that I ever coached.
“I say that because people were asking me that. He was a great, great player, a fantastic player and he’s a young manager now."
“So, he will need some time, he will need to make some mistakes and do it right like he did in Scotland. He’s someone who has a great future and what I would say to them is just listen, that’s it. Listen to everyone and try to learn from anyone.”
Rafa Benitez claims it was 'impossible' to manage Everton due to his Liverpool connections
Benitez, who took up the Everton job last summer, spent less than six months at Goodison Park before he was dismissed in January 2022 to be replaced by Frank Lampard.
The Spaniard claims he does not regret taking the job, but does admit that his connections with Liverpool made certain decisions difficult. The veteran manager told Sky Sports:
"At the time Everton came in with the offer, I knew I would give my best and do everything to try to improve things," he said. "I knew it could be difficult because I was at Liverpool, so maybe I couldn't make some decisions. It was very clear for us at the beginning.
"I had a meeting with a head of one of the departments and I asked him 'do you think everything is fine?' He said 'yeah, everything is perfect.' I thought '£600m had been spent, it cannot be perfect when the owners aren't happy and the fans are not happy."
"So I realised we had to change things inside, but I couldn't do it straight away because I was a former Red and it could be seen as 'oh, he's come in to change our club.'
"In another club, I would have made those decisions. I did it in the past, because you know very clearly that is the way to improve, but there at Everton I couldn't do it."