Roy Hodgson claims the presence of Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool during his time at the club meant it "wasn't easy" managing the Anfield side.
Hodgson, who is now the head coach at West Brom, was sacked as Liverpool boss following six months in charge, after being appointed on a three-year contract.
Speaking before the visit of his old club to The Hawthorns on Saturday, Hodgson said Dalglish's achievements loomed large over his tenure and were made more pertinent by the fact he was appointed at the expense of the former Scottish international.
"It's difficult to compete with icons," he said.
"I came to the right club, perhaps I didn't come at the right time because Kenny did make it clear at that time that he wanted the job.
"The people who were making the decisions at that time decided to go for me, and as a result that left Kenny in a difficult position because he is one who wanted the job.
"So when things didn't go well, having him in the background wasn't easy and wouldn't have been easy for any coach."
However, Hodgson added this scenario was by no means exclusive to Liverpool.
He said: "That happens at virtually every football club, to be quite honest. There's always someone in the wings who's a little bit of an icon and who's ready to take over if the results don't go that way."
Hodgson was keen to stress his sole motivation ahead of Saturday`s clash lies with keeping West Brom in the Premier League, rather than proving a point to his previous employers.
"There is no vindication factor at all," he said.
"I enjoyed my time at Liverpool, well, I say I enjoyed my time, that would probably not be strictly true.
"I was treated correctly in every respect and by everyone at the club."
The former Fulham boss never had the full support of the fans at Liverpool, who made their disappointment clear on a number of occasions.
For this reason, Hodgson said he is unsure of the reception he will get from the travelling supporters on Saturday.
He said: "The reaction to my appointment from a large body of the fans was not positive so I don't know if that would have changed now I'm no longer there.
"Whatever the reaction is, we as managers have to accept that and get on with it."
Hodgson will be without Somen Tchoyi who remained in Cameroon after his wife fell ill while he was on international duty last week.
Fellow midfielder Graham Dorrans will also be absent as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.
Speaking ahead of The Hawthorns clash, Dalglish insists predecessor Hodgson has nothing to prove.
"Roy hasn't got anything to prove to anybody," said Dalglish, who was keen to play down any hype surrounding the personal battle on the touchline.
"If you say he has extra motivation then you are doubting the man's integrity and implying he never had enough motivation before.
"It's Liverpool versus West Brom and we'll face a team that has been prepared by Roy.
"I don't have a problem with that. It'll be nice to see him and say hello again.
"I have great respect for him, as I said when I came in here, and that isn't going to change because we are playing against each other.
"For me, whatever happens will happen on the pitch."
Dalglish has allowed Liverpool to play with more freedom than they had under Hodgson while, conversely, West Brom have tightened up since they replaced Roberto Di Matteo and his brand of attacking football.
But the Reds boss said it was only natural that each manager stuck to the methods which had brought them previous success.
"Roy brings his own style of management to the club - the same as Roberto did and the same I did here - and they have done well since he went in there," said Dalglish.
"There is no point in going into West Brom and trying to be someone else. Roy is himself and has done very well in football.
"Everyone knows he is an excellent coach. I am sure he had plenty of offers to go back into football (after leaving Liverpool) and I am sure he always will do.
"We know how they will play so it's up to us to be better than them on the day."
The international break has been good to the club in several ways as striker Andy Carroll scored his first England goal while none of the players who played for their countries reported any injuries on their return.
It also gave injured captain Steven Gerrard the time to recover from groin surgery and put himself into contention against Albion.
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