Under-fire Kean leads Blackburn to Anfield

Blackburn boss Steve Kean may be managing for more than just three points when his side heads to Anfield to face Liverpool on Monday.

With Blackburn sitting in last place with just ten points on the year, Kean has come under fire with a barrage of protests from the Ewood Park faithful leading everyone to believe that his job is in jeopardy.

After surrendering two first-half goals in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Bolton, fans at Ewood Park proceeded to boo the manager and chant "Kean out" throughout the affair.

But despite the poor run of form, Kean has continuously had the backing of Blackburn ownership, not to mention the longest-tenured Premier League manager, who recently came out in support of Kean's character.

"I feel for the lad," Sir Alex Ferguson said. "He seems to be in complete control of himself at press conferences and has not let events get to him.

"It is remarkable that under that kind of pressure he can retain his dignity the way he has done."

Kean also revealed that he has received votes of confidence from several other Premier League managers.

"My phone's been going hot all week with people phoning with messages saying 'Hang in there,'" Kean said.

He will, indeed, have to hang in there with trips to Liverpool and Manchester United next on the schedule.

Liverpool has all to play for this season, pushing for a European spot as it sits in sixth place with 30 points. Kenny Dalglish's men will certainly want to improve on their most recent Premier League outing, a scoreless draw at Wigan.

The club will still have Luis Suarez available for Monday's clash against Blackburn despite the eight-game suspension handed to him by the FA for derogatory racial comments directed toward Patrice Evra. It is widely expected that Suarez will appeal the decision.

Manchester United, meanwhile, goes for its fifth-straight win in the league when it hosts Wigan at Old Trafford on Saturday, first-place Manchester City hopes to preserve its two-point cushion atop the table with three points at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich, and Chelsea hosts Fulham at Stamford Bridge in the latest edition of the storied West London derby.

Elsewhere on Boxing Day, Newcastle United, winless in its last six league games, heads to the Reebok Stadium to square off against Bolton, Martin O'Neill goes for his third win as Sunderland boss as the Black Cats host Everton, and Aston Villa and Stoke City look to bounce back from losses in their previous outings as they meet at the Britannia Stadium.

And on Tuesday, a host of London clubs return to action as Arsenal welcomes Wolverhampton to the Emirates, Swansea City welcomes QPR to the Liberty Stadium, and Norwich City welcomes Tottenham to Carrow Road.