By STEVE BRENNER
PAUL JEWELL could have been plonked in front of the TV today enjoying plenty of festive fun — but he would not have it any other way.
Instead of relaxing with his nearest and dearest, Jewell faces 90 minutes of hell as rock-bottom Derby take on Liverpool.
In fact, the new Pride Park chief even admitted his side have more chance of winning the Premier League than they do of victory against Fernando Torres & Co today!
But Jewell just cannot wait to take on Rafa Benitez and build on Sunday’s morale-boosting draw at Newcastle.
The Rams boss revealed: “Someone said to me before the game on Sunday that I could have my feet up watching it at home. But I am loving my job.
“It is tough because of the situation we are in but people are so good to work for.
“I came in with my eyes wide open and I know that it is going to be a tough long road this season.
“But I like a challenge and I feel if I can get it right here, then the future is bright.”
Scouser Jewell started his playing career at Anfield and the Reds remain close to his heart.
Not many others at Derby will be looking forward to welcoming the Kop kings today after they spanked the Rams 6-0 back in September.
Jewell added: “It is where I started — but the only thing I am looking at is Derby,
“Liverpool is the team I supported as a kid. But at this moment I am manager of Derby and a Derby supporter.
“I would love them to win the league — if we can’t win it! Actually we probably have more chance of winning the league than beating Liverpool.”
Jewell knows that with red-hot strikers such as Torres in their line-up, Liverpool can be ruthless.
He said: “I don’t think I need to remind the lads of what happened at Anfield — 6-0 is a hiding but that can happen in this league if the top teams have a day when everything clicks.
“I remember Ipswich losing 9-0 to Manchester United so it really is scary at times.
“If we defend like we did at Newcastle, we will concede more goals. There has been a lot improvement — but we need to improve even more.”
DERBY midfielder David Jones is still missing with a groin strain. Defender Andy Todd’s back injury has not healed in time.
Liverpool striker Peter Crouch serves the second of a three-match ban after his red card at Chelsea last week.