I remember Kenny Dalglish the player well. In the late 70s when I started watching English football, Liverpool were the dominant club in what was then the English First Division and Dalglish was doing a great job filling the big shoes left by former King of the Kop, Kevin Keegan, who’d departed for German Bundesliga side Hamburg after the Reds won their first European Cup in 1977.
His signature scoring move is still unforgettable three and a half decades on – trapping the ball outside the penalty area with his back to goal, then swivelling on a dime to send a rocket into the top corner – brilliant stuff from a brilliant footballer.
While I can recall Dalglish the player, I’ve never seen his fellow Scotsman Alex Ferguson play.
By the time Dalglish arrived at Anfield in 1977, Ferguson was already three years retired from playing and into the second club of his managerial career. He would enjoy a successful time managing St Mirren, and then Aberdeen, before arriving at Old Trafford for what would become a career defining spell.
While Dalglish was clearly the better player — nine Scottish titles with Celtic, six English league titles with Liverpool, an FA Cup, four League Cups and three European Cups, among others — there is no doubt Ferguson has been the better manager.
Much has been made of how Dalglish has transformed Liverpool sine he took over from Roy Hodgson mid-stream last season.
It is why Liverpool fans are so optimistic ahead of the huge Premiership clash between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday.
They have beaten United on the last three occasions at Anfield, with Dalglish masterminding a 3-1 victory in the most recent clash there in March.
But, lest Liverpool fans forget, Ferguson will be in the opposition dugout on Saturday and the United boss will be desperate not to go down for a fourth successive time at Anfield.
Dalglish has won four English titles while Ferguson owns 12. At Manchester United, Ferguson has won the Double twice and a Treble in 1999.
There is no doubt that when Ferguson puts away his hairdryer for good, he will be the greatest manager of all time in English football.
The energy that he still brings to the job in his 25th year at Old Trafford, plus his magical ability to produce successive generations of match-winners is remarkable.
His motivational skills are second to none and he will have his men ready for this battle.
When United captured their record 19th league title last season, the question was asked whether he would be able to put together a team good enough to continue the legacy left by recent greats.
So far, it looks like business as usual.
United have made a scintillating start to the season.
Wayne Rooney is rejuvenated, Nani is in full cry, Javier Hernandez is as ruthless as ever, and a new batch of youngsters have emerged in Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Johnny Evans and Tom Cleverly.
In have come Ashley Young and goalkeeper David De Gea, and while the jury’s out on the young Spanish custodian, United are unbeaten after seven games in the Premiership and lead the table.
There is no doubt Dalglish has put together a strong squad.
But right now they are only a work in progress, not a championship-winning team already.
In many ways, no one at Anfield this Saturday will understand the significance of this tie more than Dalglish, who experienced the “Big Red Clash” both as player and manager.
With his side having lost twice already this season, Saturday’s match is one he can ill afford to lose.
Many say there is more pressure on United for this game, with Manchester City neck-and-neck with them and the derby to come next weekend,
But Liverpool will also feel the heat because a loss will see them go nine points behind the Red Devils.
Is Gerrard match-fit to lead the team? Can the likes of Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt deliver, with Liverpool’s attack only delivering 10 league goals so far in seven matches?
Contrast that with United, who have banged in 24 goals in the Premiership so far.
Liverpool will be fired up in front of their own fans, but the team that can cope in the Anfield cauldron is Ferguson’s United.
The team’s belief and determination, shaped by the manager, mixed with their irrepressible attacking instincts, will swing the match their way.