Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Tuesday December 25 2007
Rams v Liverpool - Preview
Derby County v Liverpool
Wednesday, 26th December 2007, 3:00 pm
Firstly on behalf of the Derby County Vital football web site we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year.
The Rams head to Pride Park for the Boxing Day clash against third placed Liverpool full of confidence after the 2-2 draw against Newcastle United at St James` Park on Sunday.
But the Boxing day clashes have not been successful for the Rams and in fact Derby have only ever won one Premier League game on Boxing Day; they defeated Newcastle 1-0 at home in 1997.
In the last seven Premier League matches between the two sides the Reds have come out on top, the Rams will hope to change this come Boxing Day.
The Rams have injury concerns ahead of the game with skipper Matt Oakley remaining in doubt with the groin strain that forced him out of the draw at Newcastle, likewise Claude Davis.
Goalkeeper Stephen Bywater picked up a shoulder injury in the clash in the North East and Darren Moore a back problem and Gary Teale (ankle) were also injured but are all expected to face Liverpool.
For Liverpool born Paul Jewell, who is looking for a first win as Rams manager - having stopped the rot with a first point in seven outings from Sunday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle - is looking forward to the game but is under no illusions.
He said: "'I am a realist; I know we have got it all to do, but all I can ask of the players is that they give me everything they have got.
'Day-to-day we are gradually improving and coming around to the way we want to do things because every manager is different and does things differently.'
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is likely to make changes with a tough trip to Manchester City looming next Sunday.
Benitez likes to switch the starting line up and I`m sure that will be the case on Wednesday, with Ryan Babel, Andriy Voronin, Fabio Aurelio, Lucas and Jack Hobbs could all be in line for a starting place.
Also returning to the squad is Peter Crouch after his send off against Chelsea. The game will be the Reds 600th Premier League fixture and Benitez believes his side are on the right track.
Benitez said: "It is too early to talk about the title or whether we will be in the top four, there are a number of sides who are playing well, so you cannot say who are going to be contenders.
'My idea is one game at a time and that starts against Derby, and then we`ll see if we are in the top four at the end of the season.'
Derby (from): Bywater, Mears, Moore, McEveley, Leacock, Barnes, Edworthy, Oakley, Pearson, Lewis, Fagan, Howard, Miller, Teale, Earnshaw, Feilhaber, Holmes, Price.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hobbs, Hyypia, Riise, Aurelio, Benayoun, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Kewell, Babel, Lucas, Sissoko, Crouch, Kuyt, Torres, Voronin, Itandje.
Referee - Alan Wiley (Burntwood, Staffordshire)
Date:Tuesday December 25 2007
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