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'I don't look at anyone's age', says boss, concerning his counterpart

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has taken a veiled swipe at Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, insisting that referees deserve to be given some respect.

Dalglish's comments come in the wake of the Red Devils' boss having criticised referee Martin Atkinson for his decisions during United's game against Chelsea, which the league leaders eventually lost 2-1 thanks to a late penalty.

Now the 69-year-old Ferguson could face a touchline ban for his post-match comments, which his fellow Scot feels were uncalled for.

"This week the theme has been about referees and I’ve got to say that when I came back in as manager I was made fully aware of the respect campaign with regard to officials," Dalglish said, according to The Mirror.

"I think we have adhered to the campaign in every respect.

"They have made mistakes in all of our games, but we’ve also made mistakes.

"It is impossible for officials not to make mistakes. But there is a respect campaign in football and I want to know whether we are going to be the only ones that ­adhere to it."

Dalglish also pointed towards his first game in charge of the club in his second stint as boss, when the Merseysiders took on Ferguson's men in an FA Cup clash at Old Trafford.

In that game, skipper Steven Gerrard was sent off after the Red Devils had received a controversial penalty very early on, which Ryan Giggs converted, dumping Liverpool out of the domestic cup competition.

"I hope that we aren’t going to suffer as a club ­because we show respect to ­officials," added the former Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and Celtic boss.

"We will continue to respect the campaign - but only as long as we don’t suffer in any way, shape or form because of it.

"At this particular moment, I don’t think anyone can argue that we haven’t suffered. We gave a good account of ­ourselves in the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford when we lost to a poor penalty decision made in the first minute and then had ­Steven ­Gerrard sent off.

"We will try our best to retain our dignity and show respect to referees, but we would also like to think they give us the respect we ­deserve by at least trying to go along with the guidelines of the ­campaign. ­Everybody thinks they are hard done-by by referees - and you are at some stage. But sometimes you get some benefits as well."

Dalglish went on to defend match officials, pointing towards the sexism saga involving Sian Massey after his side's 3-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier in the season.

"We had an incident at Wolves when the lady official gave a decision that proved to be correct," he said. "Yet she was left out of games after that. Why? She did nothing wrong. Somebody else got ­publicity this week for doing something wrong and what happens to them? They just continue.

"That lady official did nothing wrong and got punished. Is that going to encourage her?

"Maybe they said ‘you got it right pet, but don’t worry because you won’t be working next week’."

He continued: "When you see somebody standing at the sidelines, studious and contemplating, it doesn’t mean he is less intense than somebody who is jumping up and down and shouting and bawling."

Liverpool and United are currently locked on 18 league titles each, and Ferguson appears to be close to completing his long-term objective of knocking the Merseyside outfit off their perch.

But with Ferguson still managing his club at the age of 69, there has been a lot of talk concerning when the much-decorated manager will call time on his career at Old Trafford.

"I don’t look at anyone’s age," Dalglish said. "Whichever way you do it you always get tested by results - and certainly the results United have had have been fantastic."

Switching back to the theme of referees and intimidating managers, the Anfield legend said: "'Fergie' has got his own personality. But just because he has a different personality to ­someone who is more studious, it doesn’t mean a thing."

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