Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Sir Alex Ferguson's assessment that Steven Gerrard is not a 'top, top player' is 'more than harsh'.
Former Manchester United manager Ferguson has claimed in his autobiography that Gerrard cannot be considered in the same midfield bracket as the likes of Red Devils pair Paul Scholes and Roy Keane.
Rodgers, though, feels the Scot is being unfairly critical, with Liverpool and England skipper Gerrard one of the finest players to have emerged in this or any other generation.
He has been a talismanic presence for club and country over many years and Rodgers thinks few would argue against Gerrard's standing in an elite group of world-class talent.
On Ferguson's comments, he told talkSPORT: "Everyone who's seen that would probably say it's more than harsh.
"I've watched Steven over many years and recognised he was a top player, but it's only when you come in and work with the man and realise how professional he is on a daily basis that you understand his performance level.
"This is a guy who at 33 years of age is a top, top player. He's a wonderful talent and I don't think anyone could argue."
Rodgers also feels that Ferguson has broken the unwritten code of dressing room conduct by openly criticising former stars such as Keane and David Beckham.
He added: "Anyone who's been in football knows that whatever is said behind closed doors and in the changing room is something you wouldn't want to hear again.
"It's something that's vitally important. You want to know as a human being that you can speak openly and communication is honest, and hopefully wouldn't get repeated.
"It's certainly something that in modern time is becoming more difficult. I always felt that years ago you could say those sorts of things, that people were open and honest, but that it would get left behind and you move on.
"As times goes on and all the social communication and technologies come along it makes it that more difficult.
"You would like to think you would still have some old school values and ethics that whatever is said you take it on the chin and keep it behind closed doors and move on."