Both players grew up in Huyton before carving careers as dynamic midfielders - but Barton believes that neither he or anyone else can compare with Liverpool's No.8 over recent years.
"For my generation he's probably as gifted a player as there has been in the Premier League, if not Europe, if not the world," Barton told Liverpoolfc.tv during the Steven Gerrard Foundation golf event in Portugal.
"We're fortunate in this era to have a lot of good players and Stevie is at the top of that tree.
"A lot of good players have strengths in one area and weaknesses in other. Stevie has a lot of strengths and very few weaknesses.
"He's very, very difficult to play against and that's the reason he's regarded as highly as he is in world football."