Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson spent his career trying to knock Liverpool off their perch. In the end, he just barely managed, thanks in part to Liverpool's own struggles in the Premier League era. It wasn't all on Liverpool, though: when United just barely beat them to the title in 2008-09, they became one of only two sides in the past decade to crack the 90 point barrier.
For all the enmity he earned from Liverpool fans, it cant be denied that he worked wonders for United, often in his later years with sides that seemed to have no right to find themselves near the top of the tableâlet alone to be winning it so regularly. Having retired now, though, he no longer has any control over what happens in the rivalry. And he's worried about Liverpool's new manager, Jürgen Klopp.
"I'm worried about him," admitted the Ferguson, speaking to reporters at an event in London over the weekend. "The one thing United don't want is Liverpool to get above us. He's a fantastic personality, with those big white teeth always showing. Even at Newcastle, when they lost the second goal, he goes over to Steve McClaren to congratulate him. That's class. And of course the work he did at Dortmund."
Fans around the league have, since Klopp's arrival on Merseyside, frequently voiced their displeasure. Or at least the ones who are fans of other top sides, sides that would have had a shot at the charismatic German had they been looking for a manager over the next 12 months and he still been available. Fans of clubs like United and Arsenal and Manchester City and even struggling Chelsea.
Many, it seems, are at least a touch jealous that it is Liverpool and not their beloved club that landed Klopp. And many are equally worried about the way a revitalised Liverpool could jeopardise the place of their own side in the Premier League's pecking order. None has the stature of Ferguson, though, and his worry that Klopp might help Liverpool to once again overtake United will be music to the ears of Liverpool fans.
"I know him quite well from the coaching seminars," added the former United boss. "He's going to make a difference at that club with his personality, drive, and knowledge. Things are looking up for them."