By Martin Smith (Daily Telegraph)
Last Updated: 8:46pm GMT 25/12/2007
It's a bit like those unwelcome relatives who turn up on your doorstep on Boxing Day; Paul Jewell is a Scouser, born and bred, but the last team he would want to arrive at Pride Park this afternoon are Liverpool.
Some of the Derby County players he sends out today still bear the scars of the 6-0 defeat they suffered at Anfield at the beginning of September, one of five occasions on which they have conceded four or more goals this season.
"I've never been beaten 6-0," Jewell, who arrived less than a month ago, said with a degree of pride. "No one likes being beaten 6-0, but these teams can do that to you. The top teams are on a different planet to the rest of us.
"It can happen. If you don't defend properly, and if you're not at your best, and not in their faces, then they can kill you. Make no mistake about it. We've got to defend better than we have done for the majority of the season. It was only a point at Newcastle [on Sunday], but we've got to try to use it as a springboard."
The 2-2 draw at St James' Park interrupted a run of seven successive defeats in the Premier League, and was the first point Derby had collected in four games under Jewell. However, apart from four goals conceded at Old Trafford, they have tightened up in defence.
"But we're still giving bad goals away," Jewell conceded. "The two we gave away on Sunday were horrendous. You might get away with it in the Championship, but at this level the top boys will punish you.
"Sometimes we've been easy to play against. When you're in a situation like we are, you've got to fight and scrap for every ball. If it's good enough for Manchester United and Arsenal, it's certainly good enough for Derby. We're in deep trouble: we need to get 30 points from somewhere if we've got any chance of surviving, but we ain't giving up on it."
Jewell was five years as a young professional at Anfield, and the lessons learnt have stayed with him. "Liverpool are a unique club, because you were never coached as such; they expected you to work it out for yourself. It taught me. Some people didn't get it.
"I was speaking to Graeme Souness at a lunch recently, and we had a bit of a discussion about it. He said they used to say, 'work it out for yourself' because they didn't know themselves. I don't agree with that. But it made you think. Liverpool expect you to keep it simple."
They also used to keep feet firmly on the ground.
"I was in the squad who played Dinamo Bucharest in the semi-finals of the European Cup," Jewell said. "We won 2-1, Ian Rush got two, I was on the bench, and coming home on the plane from Romania there was no champagne or anything.
"Ronnie Moran came down and said to those of us who hadn't played - me, Gary Gillespie, Phil Thompson, Steve Nicol and Jimmy Beglin: 'Don't forget, you five, Anfield, five o'clock tomorrow, Coventry reserves'. Ronnie was making sure: we'd got to a European Cup final, but the next game that was important to the club was the Coventry reserves one. That's what I try to do."
A measure of the task ahead, though, was the latest odds from Ladbrokes, in which Derby are quoted at 100-1 to avoid relegation. "My pound's looking safe, then!" Jewell said. The Scouse humour is still there.