The real question on Fulham fans’ minds: What about that silly Michael Jackson statue?”

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Alas, no answers forthcoming from Fulham FC’s new American-based owner:

We know that new Fulham owner Shahid Khan, the Pakistani-born car-parts king who also owns NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, has promised not to micro-manage his new Premiership holding. (Hooray!)

We know he is bullish on plans to modernize and slightly increased capacity around the team’s historically quaint West London grounds on the banks of the River Thames. (The wind does blow cold off that water in the winter!)

But we don’t have an answer to the truly vexing question: what will Khan do with that whacky Michael Jackson statue outside of Craven Cottage, the one that caused so much head-craning wonder and no small amount of consternation among Fulham FC faithful?

We do know that Khan has some keen political sense about him. Just listen to his answer about to the inevitable query on the Jackson statue as he met members of the press Saturday at Craven Cottage:

“I have been the owner less than a day. We have to preserve and respect history but we also have to move forward. I am going to reflect on it, listen to the fans and then decide.”

Yes, a shrewd answer, one that seems to indicate some desire to push that silly thing right into the Thames, but stops well short of taking a hard stance on the issue.

Back in 2011, at the behest of owner Mohamed Al Fayed, a statue of the American pop icon was unveiled to choruses of bewilderment and outrage among Fulham fans. “Michael Jackson?” they asked. Why?

(MORE: Fulham’s new owner hardly represents the death of English soccer)

The answer was commensurately curious, for Jackson had zero connection with the Premier League club. Al Fayed was simply a fan. And he owned the team. So … sure … put up a statue!

Truly, it was just bizarre. And the match was especially odd considering Fulham’s reputation as perhaps the sleepiest of brand name English clubs, a club housed in a family-friendly place where fans cheered nicely, the very antitheses of entertainment industry flamboyance.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.