Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard. has been singled out for criticism by Gerard Houllier in the wake of Liverpool’s Champions League emlimination.

Houllier claimed Gerrard ‘was not at the races’ during the draw with Basel on Tuesday, a result which saw Liverpool exit the competition at the hands of the unfancied Swiss side.

“He’s having a terrible time,’ said Houllier. ‘I have stuck by him but he just wasn’t good enough against Basel. It is not a physical thing. He is just going through a bad period.

“He started in Basel in central midfield when we needed him to be at his most creative – but he was not at the races.”

“Steven did not play at the World Cup so he cannot be tired.

Houllier also implied that the player had let praise for his impressive early-season performances, go to his head.

“The problem is players can think they are kings if they believe everything that is written about them,’ added the Liverpool coach.

“In a sense, this is an exciting period for him because he can come back a bigger and stronger player.”

“At the moment, the team is missing a good Steven Gerrard,” declared Houllier.

“It is up to him to say he wants to be a better player.

“I have given him five opportunities this season as a show of my trust and support and there will be another one, but I do feel frustrated.”