Michael Owen described Liverpool as the best team in Europe after they lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, but Rio Ferdinand said it was "disrespectful" to rank the Reds ahead of their conquerors.
Former England striker Owen had playing spells with both Liverpool and Madrid, and he remains convinced the Reds are the continent's top side, despite them finishing runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League and now Madrid in Europe.
After chasing a quadruple for months, Liverpool have finished a remarkable season as FA Cup and EFL Cup winners.
Vinicius Junior settled Saturday's final in Paris, with Thibaut Courtois pulling off several fine saves to keep out Liverpool and clinch a 1-0 win.
"I still think they're the best team in Europe, I really do," Owen said, assessing Liverpool as a pundit on BT Sport.
"On other occasions, Liverpool would be having their name etched on the trophy this time.
"The season they've had, I still think they're the team to beat. Real Madrid have got past them today, but you [Ferdinand] know as well as anyone, a one-off game is a one-off game, it's exactly that. I still think they're the most fearsome team in Europe, and they've not got any of the big two trophies this season to show for that, and that will be the biggest pill to swallow."
14 - Real Madrid have won the European Cup/Champions League on 14 occasions – twice as many times as any other side in the history of the competition. Preferred. #UCLfinal #LIVRMA pic.twitter.com/lPk4sM7sWf— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 28, 2022
Ferdinand, a former captain of Manchester United, responded by saying: "How can you say they're the best team in Europe when they've lost the league, and they've lost the Champions League final?"
Ferdinand acknowledged Liverpool have become an "unbelievably exciting team", but he said: "You've got to get your hands on the big trophies to be called outright the best team in Europe.
"I don't think they can be considered that, and I think it would be disrespectful to a team like Madrid who have gone and done what they've done."