McClaren said: "We've given Gerrard the freedom to be our inspiration and to give us what he gives Liverpool week-in and week-out. I think he's delivering that.
"When you see Stevie G play, he is one player who is a great player and can unlock doors in any game in a split-second.
"They are the key players in anybody's team.
"I don't think he's ever been wasted. He's been a top player wherever he's played and has always performed well.
"But he gives more to our team by playing in the middle and playing with the inspiration I see week-in and week-out."