Liverpool sent a message of support to former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after he suffered a brain haemorrhage, calling the Scot a "great friend" of the club following his backing in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster. United confirmed reports on Saturday that Ferguson fell ill a day earlier and was in intensive care after undergoing emergency surgery which went "very well".
Ferguson managed Liverpool's great rivals United for 27 years until 2013, a period in which the two clubs enjoyed numerous heated clashes. When the 76-year-old Scot was appointed in 1986, Liverpool were the most successful team in the English top flight with 18 titles triumphs, compared to United's seven.
Liverpool knocked off their perch
Ferguson famously quipped in his early days that his target was to knock Liverpool "off their perch" by surpassing their title haul, and he ultimately succeeded, leaving United in 2013 having taken them to 20.
Always welcome at Anfield
Yet under the animosity was great respect, with Liverpool icon Kenny Dalglish previously revealing Ferguson offered his support after the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 died, and the club did not forget that in their message to him on Saturday. Sir Alex has always been warmly welcomed by the club and was recently among the guests invited to attend the unveiling of the renamed Kenny Dalglish Stand.
An LFC statement read: "The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Sir Alex Ferguson and his family following the news that the former Manchester United manager is ill in hospital. A great rival but also a great friend who supported this club during its most difficult time, it is hoped that Sir Alex will make a full recovery. In the meantime, the club will offer its full support to Manchester United and also his family."