Jamie Carragher may be finding himself regularly overlooked by England boss Steve McLaren, but the boss who matters has once again hailed Carra as "one of the best".
Liverpool's vice captain will need to be at his best tomorrow for the visit of Arsenal who are looking to make it four wins in four meetings this season.
Rafa says one of the keys to Carra's success is that he is not prepared to relax and assume he's done enough, either on the pitch or on the training ground: "For me Jamie is one of the best defenders in Europe," said Rafa, "He is always focused on the game, always trying to learn. That is the key for me because each season he improves a little bit."
Carra's attitude at Melwood has ensured he's seen by Rafa as one of his most vital players: "He is always listening and that is one of the reasons he can keep improving. It is the same every training session, always working hard, always trying to improve."
Carra's abilities to organise his team-mates are well-known, and Rafa also appreciates the way he can rely on Jamie to pick up any new tactics he has in mind: "He reminds me of a hunting dog – when I want something specific done in defence he is very willing to learn. As a defender he is someone you do not want to play against, to have marking you."