Sir Alex Ferguson says he is glad he does not have to face Jurgen Klopp's "phenomenal" Liverpool as a manager.
Ahead of Liverpool v Manchester United on Sunday the United legend, who guided the club to 13 Premier League titles, says he has "great respect" for the Merseyside club and what they have achieved over the last two seasons.
"I've always considered the Manchester United and Liverpool derby the game of the season," said Ferguson, speaking in aid of Sports United Against Dementia and the League Managers' Association's charity In The Game.
"Quite simply, they are the two most successful teams in Britain when you add up all the trophies they’ve won together.
"It's obvious that you have to beat Liverpool to win anything. It's similar to when I was at Aberdeen - you had to beat Rangers and Celtic to win anything and you can add a mental attitude to that.
"In reality, it is the game. Liverpool's success over the 70s and 80s was phenomenal.
"To do that, I had to take a road that was always going to be difficult, it meant I had to wait in terms of building the club. Eventually, it turned out fantastically for us.
Now I've retired, and thank goodness I've retired actually when I see Liverpool's performance over the last two seasons - they've been phenomenal. I've got great respect for Liverpool, I always have.
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Ferguson also recalled how United almost signed Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson before he joined their bitter rivals in 2011.
"We were ready to make a bid for him," he said. "There was criticism from [former Liverpool boss] Brendan Rodgers about my assessment of Jordan.
"The actual story was we were ready to make a bid for him at Sunderland. I spoke to [Sunderland manager] Steve Bruce. Our scouting and medical department said they weren't happy with his running style.
"They said he could be the type to get injuries. I had to make sure players would always be available. But we loved Jordan as a player.
"He has proved that now. All the stories I hear about him tell me that I missed out on a really good person."
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