Football: Clemence plotting Liverpool's downfall: Trevor Haylett on the Premier League programme

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The Independent Online
Hardly a fixture programme goes by without an ex-player attempting somewhere to put down his former club. Unusually at White Hart Lane today there is the novel occurrence of a pair of former Liverpool players collaborating to make the visit of the Anfield club an unhappy one.

Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence, respectively Tottenham's first-team coach and assistant coach, have been waiting eagerly for this game since the start of the season. With Spurs undefeated in four games, victory will help to establish their right to wear the managerial shoes.

'It's a special game for both of us because it's the first time we have faced them since we were put in charge,' Clemence said. 'People keep asking, has the bubble burst, but Liverpool are still the side everyone sets their standards by.'

Manchester City's visit to Everton is an apposite moment for Howard Kendall to consider whether he was right to return there two years ago, just when he seemed to be pointing City towards the kind of success he brought to Goodison in the mid- 80's.

Kendall described the overtures from Everton second time round as something he could not decline, a love affair he could not ignore, but so far the relationship has proved a rocky one; Kendall, unable to spend to improve his team and unable, it seems, to inspire match-winning performances out of those players he has.

Not that Maine Road looks any more appealing right now. City have not won since 5 September and on Wednesday they went out of the Coca-Cola Cup to the accompaniment of terrace disapproval. Niall Quinn, a Kendall acquisition for City, has scored just once this season, David White has also dried up since his unsatisfactory debut for England in Spain, while the team has failed to score in six out of the last nine games.

For goalscorers in form there is no better place to be today than Sheffield Wednesday, where David Hirst (seven goals in eight games) has his own personal shoot-out with Blackburn's Alan Shearer, who is looking to add to his tally of 16.

After four successive wins Chelsea are in danger of being labelled consistent, an epithet that has always eluded successive managers under Ken Bates. They should make that five, at home to Sheffield United, whose FA Cup visit there last season found Vinny Jones establishing an unwanted record with a booking straight from the kick-off.

Today Jones and his Wimbledon pals are intent on causing more disruption to the ambitions of Manchester United, whose midweek defeat at Aston Villa leaves them anxious for their first three-point haul in seven weeks. Out of Europe and a League Cup faller before the leaves have dropped; these are austere times on the pitch for a club that is able to announce contrasting profits off it.

Fresh from their Wednesday success Villa also claim the weekend spotlight with tomorrow's visit of third-placed QPR. The game precedes United's return to Villa Park next Saturday in the Premier League, big games all three as Ron Atkinson brings a sleeping giant to life.

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