Napoli head coach Rafael Benitez has rated captain Marek Hamsik as more tactically intelligent than Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.
Hamsik was critical to Napoli's 4-2 win away to Chievo on Saturday scoring the Neapolitans' first and third goals from his attacking midfield position behind striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored once and set up the visitors' second goal.
The Slovakian midfielder's 13th minute strike gave Napoli the lead before his second goal on 64 minutes wrestled back the advantage after Chievo had twice equalised.
Benitez, who managed Liverpool from 2004-2010 with Gerrard as his captain, was asked after the game how Hamsik compared to the 33-year-old English midfielder.
"Hamsik is very important because he slots in at the right time but Gonzalo Higuain also does well to create space for him," Benitez told Sky Sport Italia.
"Is Hamsik like Gerrard? They are different players.
"Hamsik doesn't have Gerrard's strength but he does have more tactical intelligence."
Benitez is not the first coach to question Gerrard's tactical nous with former Italian national team boss Arrigo Sacchi having once claimed that although the Liverpool skipper has all the physical attributes required to be a footballer, he does not 'have the subtle sensitivity of football' to be a 'great player'.
With Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi having left Napoli for Paris Saint-Germain in the past two years, Hamsik's importance to the Neapolitans has become more pronounced.
The 26-year-old Slovakian, who is famous for his Mohawk, has scored a brace in each of his side's two Serie A matches this season.
The win over Chievo kept Napoli top of Serie A ahead of eight matches on Sunday but while Benitez was pleased by his side's resilience in Verona, he was also concerned by their defensive frailties.
"I think that the character and the personality of my team tonight was the key to tonight's victory," Benitez said.
"We need to work more on the defensive phase, we need more training sessions and we need to analyse the mistakes we are making.
"When we make such mistakes we give our opponent the chance to score, but if we improve that aspect and manage to control the game it will be easier for us.
"I know it's just the beginning of the season, but it's clear that the team have the strength, the character and the potential in attack, so if we manage to improve the defence we will be stronger."
|43||A. Paloschi||24' 40'|
|Coach: G. Sannino|
for A. Sestu 69'
for C. Théréau 75'
for I. Radovanović 81'
|Alonso set to swap Madrid for Munich|
|Pochettino to use MK Dons as an example|
|Champions League difficult for Arsenal - Bilic|
|Redknapp takes aim at ´really poor´ QPR|
|MLS Preview: Timbers braced for ´massive´ clash in Vancouver|
|Los Angeles Galaxy 4 DC United 1: Arena´s side show quality|
|Copa Sudamericana Review: River Plate, Libertad among teams to progress|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Pachuca in seventh heaven, Leon held|
|LDU Quito 3 Deportivo Quito 0: Hosts earn bragging rights against rivals|
|Johnson calm over future|
|Kiessling hails Leverkusen|
|Benitez: Mistakes cost Napoli Champions League spot|
|K. League Preview: Seoul eyeing winning streak|
|Liga MX Preview: Monterrey looking to build momentum|
|Valverde hails ´historic day´ for Bilbao|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Mixed results for Europe´s big guns, Moti the hero for Ludogorets|
|Atletico announce Velazquez capture|
|Giroud set for lengthy absence - Wenger|
|Holders City handed home clash with Wednesday|
|La Liga Preview: Saul not worried by Simeone absence, Barca face tough Villarreal test|
|Eto´o retires from Cameroon duty|
|Aston Villa 0 Leyton Orient 1: Late Vincelot winner sends underdogs through|
|Birmingham City 0 Sunderland 3: Late strikes stun hosts|
|Arsenal 1 Besiktas 0 (1-0 agg): Alexis strike takes Wenger´s men through|
|Stoke City 3 Portsmouth 0: Walters brace sees hosts into League Cup third round|
|Burton Albion 1 QPR 0: Late strike seals upset for fourth-tier hosts|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Bordeaux look to maintain 100 per cent start|
|Dunga: No one guaranteed a place in Brazil squad|
|Serie A Preview: Juve´s Allegri era starts at Chievo|
|Mazzarri calls for professional Inter|
|Utrecht swoop for Peterson|
|Deeney extends Watford stay|
|Alonso calls time on international career|
|Bundesliga Preview: Schalke captain Howedes issues rallying cry, Leverkusen face Hertha|
|Fazio joins Spurs from Sevilla|
|Warnock will control transfers - Parish|
|Pochettino wants Soldado and Townsend to stay at Spurs|
|Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller returns for wobbling visitors|
|Celtic complete Wakaso deal|
|Seoul 0 Pohang Steelers 0 (aet, 3-0 on penalties): Yu heroics send Seoul through|
|Guangzhou Evergrande 2 Western Sydney Wanderers 1: Wanderers squeeze through on away goals|
|I´m the future, Benatia´s the past - Manolas|
|Osotspa 3 Chiangrai United 3: Visitors secure point with late rally|
|Israel versus Belgium fixture postponed|
|Fernandes reveals Redknapp contract talks|
|Warnock makes Palace return|
|Eto´o grateful to Mourinho|
|Maiga loaned to Metz|
|Pearson rues ´poor´ Leicester display|
|Bruce: Rhodes deal dead and buried|
|Balotelli set to face Tottenham|
|Di Maria wanted Real stay|
|Dyche wary of inflated transfer market|
|Celtic didn´t deserve Champions League, concedes Deila|
|Game of two halves for Koeman|
|Allardyce hails ´inspired´ Howard|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Red Bulls up and running, Rodriguez stars for Saprissa|
|Copa Sudamericana Review: Gimenez double helps Emelec through|
|Eredivisie Preview: Guardado set for PSV bow, Ajax eye recovery|
|Van Gaal ´not shocked´ by Dons defeat|
|Deila: Celtic deserved Champions League exit|
|Barca agree deal for Pereira|
|Lopetegui lauds Porto progression|
|League Cup Review: United hammered by MK Dons, West Ham lose on penalties|
|West Brom 1 Oxford United 1 (aet, 7-6 on penalties): Hosts avoid cup shock|
|Manchester United win ´something dreams are made of´ - Robinson|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Celtic out again, Porto safely through|
|United rebuild will take time - Van Gaal|
|Erbil 2 Ha Noi T&T 0 (agg 3-0): Iraqi side comfortably into the AFC Cup semis|
|West Ham 1 Sheffield United 1 (aet, 4-5 on penalties): Valencia miss proves crucial in shootout defe|
|Millwall 0 Southampton 2: Koeman claims first win|
|MK Dons 4 Manchester United 0: Humiliation for Van Gaal|
|Swansea City 1 Rotherham United 0: Gomis off the mark in League Cup clash|
|Leicester City 0 Shrewsbury Town 1: Mangan seals shock win for Shrewsbury|
|Burnley 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1: Visitors dump Dyche´s men out of League Cup|
|Walsall 0 Crystal Palace 3: Gayle treble lifts Palace gloom|
|Gillingham 0 Newcastle United 1: Egan own goal secures Newcastle triumph|
|Coupe de la Ligue Review: Auxerre, Ajaccio secure big wins|
|Al Ittihad 1 Al Ain 3: Gyan helps visitors secure semi-final spot|
|Hull City v Lokeren: Elmohamady calls for vocal support|
|Al Sadd 0 Al Hilal 0 (agg 0-1): Visitors hang on to progress|
|Tottenham v AEL: Pochettino eyes continuation of good form|
|Benitez: The pressure is on Athletic|
|Eto´o completes Goodison Park move|
|Reus nets in Dortmund friendly win|
|Roma secure Manolas signing|
|Aduriz: We can´t play for a draw|
|Al Hadd 2 Al Qadsia 2 (agg 3-3): Last-gasp leveller seals away-goal victory for visitors|
|United break transfer record for Di Maria|
|Hull announce Dawson signing|
|Moses set for Stoke debut|
|Hodgson pays tribute to Lampard|
|UEFA Europa League Play-Off Preview: Lyon look to reverse upset, Inter defend three-goal lead|
|Lukimya pens new Bremen deal|
|Bayern complete Benatia swoop|
|Bayern complete Benatia swoop|
|M´Bia replaces Eto´o as Cameroon captain|
|Palermo complete double defensive deal|
|Bakambu claims Swansea and Freiburg interest|
|Inter v Stjarnan: Mazzarri may tinker for Europa League test|
|Kitchee 0 Ninh Binh 1 (agg 4-3): Hosts hold off strong challenge to reach last four|
|Guardado pens PSV loan deal|
|Lampard announces international retirement|
|Wenger unsure on severity of Giroud injury|
|Mascherano signs new Barca contract|
|Basanta seized Europe chance with Fiorentina|
|Marchisio: Allegri´s philosophy will boost Juve´s Europe hopes|
|Persipura 6 Al Kuwait 1 (agg 8-4): Hosts romp holders to make history|
|Cahill thrilled with Chelsea start|
|Gardner completes Brighton loan|
|Pienaar out of Chelsea clash, Lukaku faces assessment|
|Seoul v Pohang Steelers: Korean rivals battle for AFC Champions League semi spot|
|Lamela keen to add goals|
|Jovetic refuses to take plaudits|
|Henderson tips Balotelli for success|
|Moya takes positives from defensive showing|
|Pepe unperturbed by scrappy showing|
|New youngsters will adapt, says Rodgers|
|Girard confident of Lille progression|
|Riise fears for Fulham under Magath|
|Balotelli: ´It was a mistake´ to leave England|
|Simeone: My suspension made no difference|
|Guangzhou Evergrande v Western Sydney Wanderers: Aussies braced for hostile reception|
|Bayern need time - Alaba|
|Ancelotti: Fatigue behind lacklustre display|
|Pellegrini delighted with Premier League start|
|Moreirense 0 Sporting Braga 0: Conceicao´s men held in Moreira|
|Liverpool will bounce back - Rodgers|