It was when the talk turned to the old Saturday rituals of FA Cup final day that Kenny Dalglish's countenance brightened dramatically and what had been a half-hour of jousts with broadcast journalists, in which he held all the cards as usual, began to assume a more promising aspect.
Cup final day memories? Dalglish could fill a book with those which have surfaced in one form or other down the years.
"Every generation at the football club have a story to tell about their travels to cup finals," he says of this weekend. "That never goes amiss. It's important to have those experiences. Winning the Carling Cup was important. [The Champions League final in] 2005 was hugely important because that generation never had the stories to tell that their parents had. They got it at Istanbul and what a story to tell that was...."
But the sense that Dalglish, above, has inherited a more difficult landscape than one he left behind 21 years ago revealed itself a day after he had given his thoughts on the FA Cup final.
A Liverpool financial statement, published yesterday, showed how the heavenly simplicity of a game where success was measured by the piece of silver your captain held above his head has long gone.
The club's full audited results are yet to be published, but Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre disclosed a record loss of £49.4m, with a £59m charge for exceptional items – largely the write-off of £35m costs for the 70,000-seater stadium which the club's previous owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, did not even see off the architects' plans. That £35m is an extraordinary figure, for which we require the full accounts to tell more.
This is a far more challenging environment than the days Dalglish was remembering, of how club secretary Peter Robinson "did everything with contracts and finance".
For now, these complexities can dissolve away and Dalglish can take Liverpool back to more straightforward times, for a weekend on which he should be celebrated for a quality, not to be underestimated, of knowing what makes his adoptive people happy.
"It's usually the people who aren't in the cup finals who say that [they don't count]," he says.
"You can argue that, financially, finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League is more beneficial than winning the FA Cup. But when you go to play in the Cup final you don't think about finance."Reuse content