Championship Sunday focus: Liverpool


Story so far… Particularly given where the team finished last year (seventh place), this may be club’s greatest Premier League season. The team’s won 25 times, scoring 99 goals along the way. Luis Suarez won both the Football Writers’ Association and Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year awards. Steven Gerrard is in most teams of the year, while Daniel Sturridge has chipped in 20 goals.

In time, that’s how Reds supporters may remember their season. Given what happened Monday, however, you can forgive fans for having a different perspective. Controlling its own title destiny, Liverpool took a 3-0 lead into the last quarter-hour at Crystal Palace. In a soul-crushing turn, the Eagles came back to earn a point, 3-3.

As a result, Liverpool enters the last weekend of the season two points behind the Citizens.

RELATED: Head here for all things Championship Sunday

Who do they play and where can I watch it: Liverpool closes the season at home against Newcastle United. Watch the game at 10am ET on NBCSN or live online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

Form guide: Liverpool carried an 11-match winning streak into its visit from Chelsea. Since, the Reds have claimed one point in two:

March 30 – vs. Tottenham, W 4-0
April 6 – at West Ham, W 1-2
April 13 – vs. Manchester City, W 3-2
April 20 – at Norwich City, W 2-3
April 27 – vs. Chelsea, L 0-2
May 5 – at Crystal Palace, D 3-3

What’s at stake: Only the league title. Thanks to City’s prohibitive edge in goal difference (13 goals), Liverpool needs a win and a Manchester City loss to claim its first Premier League crown. With a draw, they secure second place, while a loss leaves the door open for Chelsea to push the Reds into third.

When the final whistle blows: Liverpool will either celebrate its 19th first division title or be left to think back on Monday and what could have been. Regardless, a thankful crowd at Anfield will thank show its appreciation for a memorable season, with few having forgotten the four years’ struggle that led to this point.

Sunderland confirm resignation of manager Dick Advocaat

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Dick Advocaat manager of Sunderland looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and West Ham United at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
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With rumors swirling of his resignation, Sunderland have confirmed this morning that Dick Advocaat has left his post as Sunderland manager with zero financial compensation despite the protests of the chairman.

Advocaat came on in March as an emergency signing, successfully saving Sunderland from relegation with a solid run of form to finish the season. The 68-year-old Dutchman pondered at length this summer if he wished to continue on, with his wife reportedly urging him to step down, but he chose to continue on with the new season after successful persuasion from the front office.

Unfortunately, things have not gone as planned, with Sunderland sitting 19th in the table, only above Newcastle on goal differential and without a single win on the season. They’ve conceded a whopping 18 goals so far this season through eight league matches.

“I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time turn things around – like we did last year,” Advocaat said upon his departure. “I am thankful to the chairman for understanding my feelings and I remain on good terms with everyone at the club.

“I wish Ellis [Short], Lee [Congerton], all of the staff, players and of course the supporters, who made me feel so welcome here, the very best of luck for the rest of the season. I have some wonderful memories to take with me and I hope I will return to see everybody again in the future.”

“I am truly saddened by Dick’s decision,” chairman Ellis Short said, “but I respect him for his honesty and for doing what he feels is right for the club. He is a man of integrity and a true football person. He was hugely respectful of the club in taking this decision and he acted 100% in our best interests. It is also testament to his character that he has forgone any kind of a financial settlement, something which is very unusual in football.”

Meanwhile, the Black Cats have dipped into what is becoming a perennial cycle, making a managerial change for the fourth time in the last four seasons.

Rumors are swirling that a host of experienced Premier League managers could be up for the job, including the currently unemployed Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp. Other linked names include former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson and current Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

Sepp Blatter’s daughter slams media for ruining her father’s reputation

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Sepp Blatter’s daughter blames the media, not her father, for Sepp’s downfall as the head of FIFA and believes he will not step down until the February congress as he initially announced.

“The media has ruined his reputation,” Corinne Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick. “Why are they picking on him? What did he do to them? … It’s not just envy. It’s hatred.”

A host of major sponsors, including Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Visa called for Blatter’s immediate resignation as president of FIFA, to which the 79-year-old swiftly rejected. This all came after Blatter was called in by Swiss authorities for questioning after the opening of an investigation surrounding corporate mismanagement charges.

“I was afraid that they now take him away in handcuffs,” Corinne said. “He told me, ‘I must be dreaming.’ A federal policeman assured me that he could after hearing home.”

Blick pressed Corinne on many issues, all of which she defender her father. She refused to comment on many that had to do with the investigation, but did give us this gem when asked how Sepp likes to spend his money.

“He buys shoes and travel bags. He has worked 40 years. His life is modest, without any extravagance. He doesn’t play golf or go sailing.”

Shoes and handbags. What an image.