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Keane can only sit and wait

THE old order is changing. Manchester City and Spurs go to head to head for Champions League football and the chance to shake up the Premier League in a fundamental way.

Tonight's huge fixture at Eastlands will send big ripples across football at the top of the table and could have huge consequences for two men in particular, Irish skipper Robbie Keane and Rafa Benitez.

Keane soaked up the Old Firm experience at Parkhead in a 2-1 win for Celtic last night but can only watch while Harry Redknapp and Spurs push towards the Champions League without any input from their skipper.

It now looks certain that Keane is on his way out of Spurs and speculation surrounding Redknapp's interest in Steven Pienaar could offer him a route away from White Hart Lane and a new career at Everton.

Waiting in the wings for Keane is Mick McCarthy and Chris Hughton, both managers who will believe that they can persuade an old friend to sign.

The great irony is that the club Keane would prefer to be playing for most of all didn't want him, even though his goals might just have been enough to keep Liverpool in the hunt for fourth place and provide Benitez with another Champions League lifeline.

Tonight's tussle at Eastlands will provide a bitter pill for Liverpool fans to swallow while they watch the balance of power in the Premier League shift significantly.

Benitez is set for talks with new chairman Martin Broughton at the end of the week but the most worrying aspect of Anfield's current circumstances for the Kop is the thought that City will break the bank to sign Fernando Torres during the close season.

Mancini himself is in a precarious position, with talk of a training ground mutiny and the possibility that he will be sacked if he doesn't deliver fourth place, although Carlos Tevez has made a late rally to support his boss.

"Of course I would like him to continue here. I would like all of us to stay and continue with this ambitious project which we have started," claimed Tevez.