By Will Butcher

Michael Owen has labelled Steven Gerrard as “Liverpool’s greatest player” after the midfielder announced his decision to retire from professional football.

The iconic number eight announced his decision to retire after confirming that he was to leave MLS side LA Galaxy earlier this month.

Posting on his personal Twitter account, Owen described an 11-year-old Gerrard as brilliant before congratulating his old teammate on his illustrious 19-year career as a professional footballer.

The former England and Liverpool captain left Anfield in the summer of 2015 after making 710 league and cup appearances for the Reds, the third highest in the club’s history.

Gerrard, 36, also has 186 Liverpool goals to his name, which has only been beaten by four players ever to wear the Merseyside giants’ shirt.

Two FA Cups, a Champions League winners’ medal and UEFA Cup winners’ medal are some of the stand-out accomplishments of Gerrard’s career, who also finished third in the 2005 edition of the Ballon d’Or.

Captain of Liverpool for 12 years, Gerrard is expected to enter the world of management in the near future after turning down an opportunity with League One outfit MK Dons.

He is expected to join his former teammate Owen as a pundit on BT Sport, while obtaining his coaching badges in order to become a manager in the future.

Owen, who played with Gerrard until moving to Real Madrid in 2005, scored 158 goals in 297 league and cup encounters alongside his former academy teammate.

In other Liverpool news, Southampton are eyeing a loan-to-buy deal for this out-of-favour attacker in the January window.