The Royals host Liverpool at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and while mathematically they are capable of bridging the eight-point gap to safety, in reality they are doomed to relegation.
Gerrard is the Liverpool player Adkins admires most - not least for the superb conditioning that has enabled the 32-year-old to play every minute of every Premier League game this season.
"You need to watch Steven Gerrard live to see how quickly he picks a pass out," Adkins said.
"His vision is superb but he also has the technique to deliver a full range of passes.
"He's a talisman for Liverpool and always has been. He drives them on and is a leader, taking a grip on the match when he needs to.
"When you talk about midfielders there are different types, but he's one you'd consider being in a starting XI of any all-time Premier League team.
"The fact he's played so much football shows how professional he's been in looking after his body. It's a testament to him.
"If you want to play games, then you need to look after your body."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Reading in 2009 after just six months in charge, but Adkins doubts there will be any special desire to demonstrate to his former employers that they made a mistake.
"Brendan doesn't have anything to prove to us. He's a fantastic manager," he said.
"He was here, was very successful at Swansea and is doing a fantastic job at Liverpool. He's a footballing man who improves his players.
"He has teams that are really exciting to watch, so I don't believe he has anything to prove to anybody."
Adkins hinted that his players have the six matches left in Reading's season to prove they should remain in his plans for next season.
"Every player knows that the transfer window opens at the end of the season and that all clubs do business, moving people around. Here will be no exception," he said.
"The players have been spot on in training and the attitude of the players tells me they want to stay at Reading."