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Red Devils will not underestimate Merseysiders...

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed the extent of his respect for Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson, as the two men ready their teams for the eagerly-anticipated Premier League clash on Sunday at Old Trafford.

Feguson knows that Hodgson is a wily, experienced campaigner who is capable of preparing a team to beat anyone. With so much intensity surrounding this clash of long-time Lancashire rivals, Ferguson is not falling into the trap of underestimating his opponent.

"Roy has the experience," the Scot said at his pre-match press conference.

"He has gathered a wealth of experience in Italy, Switzerland and Finland and the job he did at Fulham was absolutely extraordinary.

"But our approach will not change. We have to express ourselves the way we always do.

"I have known him for a long time. I first met him in 1987 when I went on an aborted trip to Malmo.

"It was a European tie against Ajax and they abandoned it after one minute. He was at the game and we went for dinner afterwards."

Meanwhile, Ferguson is in no doubt that the game against Liverpool is the one that really counts each season for anyone connected with United.

"I sound like a parrot but this is 'the fixture'. There is no question about that," he asserted.

"It doesn't change. The form fluctuates quite a bit but we won the last game so hopefully that turns it back towards us again."

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