Dalglish plays down SAF rivalry

BY foxsports • October 13, 2011

The relationship between the two Glaswegians has a long history, stretching back to the first time Dalglish was in charge at Anfield more than 20 years ago. On taking over from Roy Hodgson at a few hours' notice in January, Dalglish's first appearance in the Liverpool dugout second time around was at Old Trafford, where his side were knocked out of the FA Cup. The Reds gained some revenge a couple of months later with a 3-1 league victory - their third successive league win against United at Anfield. But Dalglish stressed personal rivalry was not a motivating factor as the two heavyweights prepare to clash again on Saturday on Merseyside. "I don't have any individual contest with Fergie," said the Reds boss. "These are football clubs that are playing - we don't play any more. We can't influence anything other than what we do in the build-up and preparation for the games. "The most important thing for us is to how we compete on the pitch as a team. "Head to head (against Ferguson)? I wouldn't have a clue what the score is in that and it doesn't really matter to me. "I am in competition with him because we are playing against them on Saturday but over and above that we are a unit. "Everyone has an important role to play and if I continue to do my job, the players do theirs, the fans and owners do theirs we will be much better off. "It is not about someone getting one over on someone else - it is about the football club." One person who will be making it his personal mission against United this weekend will be captain Steven Gerrard, who is champing at the bit for a starting place having made three substitute appearances in his comeback from a groin operation which sidelined him for six months. The international break will have helped the midfielder, not called up by England, work further on his fitness but what he needs is match practice having been on the pitch for just short of an hour since March. Dalglish, however, maintained his oft-repeated mantra about protecting the 31-year-old and not pushing him too hard. "We are delighted with the progress he has made and he is delighted by the way he has been looked after," said the Scot. "When we think he is ready to play he will be the first to answer the call but we are not going to sit here and tell you what the team is. "We will base the decision on where he is at the moment and what he has done so far - we don't need to go back and through his history or what he has done against Manchester United. "We just have to see where he is at the moment and if we think it is right he will play."

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