BBC pundit Alan Hansen has revealed that Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and his Manchester United counterpart, Sir Alex Ferguson, get on "much better than people think".

Relations between Manchester United and Liverpool have deteriorated in recent weeks in the aftermath of Luis Suarez's eight-game ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra during a 1-1 draw between the two sides in October.

Earlier this month, Liverpool indicated that they would approach Manchester United to assess whether the two sides could hold clear-the-air talks to defuse smouldering tensions between the two sides.

However, Ferguson appeared to dismiss the need for peace talks with Liverpool on Friday, saying: "Nice to do it through the press," he said. "You would have thought they would have come to Manchester United. But I don't see why there is any need for that to be honest with you."

Manchester United feel aggrieved at what they perceive as on-going attacks on Evra's character by Liverpool but, with the two sides having been drawn together in the FA Cup fourth round, there is recognition at Old Trafford that the current level of hostility cannot be allowed to fester any longer.

And Liverpool legend Hansen believes it should not be too difficult to get the two managers to sit down together, as the pair share much more in common than is generally understood.

"When Liverpool host Manchester United at Anfield later this month, it will be a huge game for the reputations of both clubs around the world and one which will demand that the leading figures at Anfield and Old Trafford rise above all the hostility of recent weeks," Hansen told the Telegraph.

"A lot is often said about the supposed animosity between Kenny and Sir Alex. As managers of Liverpool and [Manchester] United, there is clearly rivalry there and, with both being such strong and single-minded characters, you would not expect anything else."

"But behind the bluster and unavoidable tensions that come with managing English football biggest rivals, the two of them get on much better than people think.

"Kenny and Sir Alex will share a drink after the Cup tie and the league game which follows shortly afterwards. If they met in the street, they would not walk by and ignore each other, they would stop and talk."

Suarez is suspended for the visit of United on the weekend of 28-29 Jan but he is expected to return for Liverpool's trip to Old Trafford on 11 Feb.

And Hansen has suggested both sides should attempt to draw a line underneath the events of recent weeks by releasing a joint statement of support.

"What matters now is that there are no attempts at point-scoring by either club ahead of the Cup tie and the managers are central to that," Hansen added.

"Liverpool and United are the biggest two clubs in English football, they are globally recognised because of their history and tradition, but now is the time for them to prove it with their actions in the build-up to this game.

"That applies to those within the football clubs and also the supporters, who have a duty to ensure that the hostility does not descend into anything much worse.

"That is why I would like to see a joint statement from Anfield and Old Trafford, with both managers and clubs coming together to draw a line under what has gone on in recent weeks. When the game takes place, English football will be on trial and, automatically, so will Liverpool and Manchester United."