Dalglish: Ferguson mind games won't work

MANCHESTER - Any attempt by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to psyche out his Liverpool counterpart will have no affect as the pair go back too far, Kenny Dalglish said on Friday.

Ferguson has gained a reputation for deploying what other managers call his "mind games" before big matches and Dalglish was wary of being a target before Liverpool attempt to derail their arch-rivals' Premier League title pursuit on Sunday.

"He has used psychology before in the pre-amble to matches, but he will only get sparring practice if he tries to use it on ourselves," Dalglish, celebrating his 60th birthday, said on his club's website.

"We've both been a long time out of short trousers. It will have to be a good one to catch us out."

Ferguson's track record includes saying Wayne Rooney would definitely not be fit to play in last season's Champions League game against Bayern Munich before naming him in the starting line-up.

There was no chance on Friday for Ferguson to engage in any public games as he cancelled his pre-match news conference the day after being charged with improper conduct by the Football Association.

United head to Anfield after a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea put the brakes on their march towards a record 19th league title and there would be no one happier than Liverpool fans if their side inflicted further damage on their visitors' efforts to break the record they currently share.

Dalglish, who returned as Anfield manager this year after leaving the job when they were last champions 20 years ago, first came across Ferguson when they were players in a second-string match between Celtic and Ferguson's team Rangers.

"It was 40 years ago and I was marking him in a reserve game," said Dalglish, a former Celtic striker.

"I read somewhere that he said he'd scored, but I thought we won 2-0. I'm probably wrong about that one as well. We definitely beat them, though."

Liverpool have lost once to United since Dalglish took over in January, a 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup third round, but he has since sparked a revival to lift them from the bottom half of the table to sixth.