Gerrard has scooped the Barclays Player of the Month prize for an unprecedented fifth time after a month that saw him star in emphatic wins over title rivals Manchester United and high-flying Aston Villa.

Meanwhile, Benitez has been rewarded with the Barclays Manager of the Month award after his side picked up maximum Barclays Premier League points during March.

inspirational best

Gerrard was at his inspirational best over the course of the month, setting up David Ngog's opener in the 2-0 win against Sunderland, before scoring in the 4-1 victory away at Old Trafford, which gave the Reds' Barclays Premier League title challenge fresh impetus. Gerrard rounded off the month by netting a hat-trick in the 5-0 victory over Aston Villa at Anfield.

Benitez picks up the managerial award for the fifth time in his fifth season at the club. He joins only seven other managers to have won the award on five or more occasions, and is the only manager to have picked up the honour twice this season, having also won the award in October 2008.

The decision was made by the Barclays Awards Panel, which includes representatives from football's governing bodies, the media and fans.


RAFA BENITEZ: BARCLAYS MANAGER OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH
• Benitez was born on 16th April, 1960, in Madrid, Spain.
• Benitez worked on the coaching staff at Real Madrid from the age of 26 after injury cut short his playing career, and followed this with management spells at Real Valladolid and Osasuna. He was promoted with Extremadura and then Tenerife before joining Valencia in 2001. At the Mestalla, Benitez won La Liga twice and the UEFA Cup.
• He joined Liverpool in June 2004, replacing Gerard Houllier.
• In his first season at the club Benitez won the Champions League. He also secured the Super Cup in August 2005 and followed this by winning the FA Cup in 2006.
• Benitez's four previous Barclays Manager of the Month awards came in November 2006, December 2006, January 2007 and October 2008.
• The seven other managers to have won the Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month award on five or more occasions are Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Bobby Robson, Martin O'Neill, Kevin Keegan, David Moyes and Harry Redknapp.
• Since taking over at Liverpool, Benitez's managerial record in the Barclays Premier League reads: Played 182, Won 101, Drawn 45, Lost 36 (up to 3rd April).

STEVEN GERRARD: BARCLAYS PLAYER OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH
• Steven Gerrard was born on 30th May, 1980, in Whiston.
• Having signed as a trainee, Gerrard made his Liverpool debut in November 1998 against Blackburn Rovers and has remained with the club ever since.
• In 2001 Gerrard won the treble of League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.
• Gerrard lifted the Champions League trophy as captain in 2005, scoring in a 3-3 draw with AC Milan before Liverpool triumphed on penalties.
• In total, Gerrard has accumulated two FA Cups, two League Cups, the UEFA Cup, the Champions League and two Super Cups with Liverpool.
• Gerrard was named UEFA Club Footballer of the Year following the 2005-06 season, and won the PFA Players' Player of the Year in the same season.
• This is Gerrard's fifth Barclays Player of the Month award, having previously scooped the prize in March 2001, March 2003, December 2004 and April 2006.