The sayings of Bill Shankly would, and indeed have, filled a book. What may not be realised, however, is that in most cases he was being perfectly serious. When Shankly declared football to be more important than mere matters of life and death, he meant it.
Which is not to say that his tongue was never in his cheek. Sitting next to Shanks on the Liverpool bus as it made its way from Speke airport in the early hours after one European trip, a quiet doze was interrupted by a nudge: "Davie, I think you should know that we're passing Everton's training ground. But don't worry. So long as you stay on the coach you'll not be contaminated."
At the moment Liverpool supporters may find themselves hoping that whatever Everton have got is highly contagious. Sunday's first Merseyside derby of the season finds David Moyes's side beginning to acquire the attributes of past Liverpool teams while Brendan Rodgers is struggling to restore any kind of identity to what is happening at Anfield.
True, Liverpool beat Everton twice in the league last season, winning 2-0 at Goodison and 3-0 in the return game, and 2-1 in their FA Cup semi-final. But they finished behind their rivals in the Premier League and are at present loitering in the bottom half of the table while Everton are in the top four.
There was a time when the results of meetings between Liverpool and Everton reverberated throughout the land. In the 60s and early 70s Shankly's Liverpool and Harry Catterick's Everton regularly shared centre stage with the Uniteds of Manchester and Leeds. Then, while Liverpool found even greater success under Bob Paisley, Everton lost their way and did not return from the wilderness until Howard Kendall restored the league title to Goodison in the mid-80s.
Now what was once one of English football's most eagerly awaited derbies has become a nostalgic sideshow, left behind by the millions poured into the coffers of Chelsea and Manchester City and the enduringly powerful presence of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Even if City's historic knack of shooting themselves in the foot proved itself alive and well against Ajax on Wednesday, at least the Etihad is watching Champions League football again while Liverpool have been slumming it in the Europa Thursday League.
It seems safe to say that neither Everton nor Liverpool will win the Premier League this season, or in the foreseeable future. Getting into the Champions League via a top-four finish is the best that either can expect and, for Everton at least, that is looking a distinct possibility. With the other likely contestants for fourth place, Arsenal and Tottenham, feeling the effects of selling their better players, this could be Goodison's chance.
The way Moyes has organised Everton teams since taking over from Walter Smith 10 years ago is reminiscent of Shankly's early days at Anfield. When Shanks became Liverpool's manager in 1959 the team were slumped in the old Second Division. Shankly took them back to the First at the third attempt and by the mid-60s they were reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup.
Like Shankly, Moyes has restored quality and consistency to Everton's football through his painstaking development of the team allied to a clear idea of how he wants them to play. Given Goodison's relatively modest finances he has been unable to compete with the bigger spenders, not that he would have been likely to sign Andy Carroll for £35m or even a fraction of that amount.
Then again, having given the young Wayne Rooney his chance, the Everton manager's frustration at seeing his prodigy leave for Manchester United in 2004 because Old Trafford's offer could not be refused can only be imagined. Managing on modest resources is hard enough when a team are simply seeking to stay in the Premier League. If Moyes gets Everton into the Champions League he would surely be a shoo-in for manager of the season.
It is worth noting that during his time at Goodison Liverpool have had five managers whereas during the 24 years of their greatest success they had just two, Shankly and Paisley. Liverpool, moreover, are on their second set of American owners while Everton's chairman, Bill Kenwright, echoes Coronation Street rather than Wall Street.
Even if Liverpool win Sunday's derby, Everton, in terms of continuity, managerial longevity and a clear notion of what they are about on the field, are at present walking alone.
This article was amended on 26 October to reflect the fact that Liverpool also beat Everton in their 2011-12 FA Cup semi-final