Championship Sunday focus: Norwich City

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Story so far…  Norwich’s Achilles heel all season has been scoring goals and they knew that going into this campaign. Expensive new signings Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper failed to do the business and now the Canaries are heading back to the Championship after being relegated, barring a freak combination of results on the final day of the season. In all honesty it has been a drab season at Carrow Road and they have failed to punch about their weight with the same vigor as previous seasons. Just 28 goals all season, a PL low, tells the whole story.

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Their star player has been Robert Snodgrass, as the Scotsman has been consistent and a pest on the right wing. Getting rid of manager Chris Hughton was a shock move from the Canaries board and their horrendous run-in always meant the Norfolk club would be in trouble.

Who do they play and where can I watch it: On the final day of the season Norwich host Arsenal live on MSNBC at 10 a.m. ET and online via NBC Sports Live Extra. The Gunners will rest plenty of their stars ahead of the FA Cup final vs. Hull City, while Norwich’s players owe it to their fans to go down fighting.

Form guide: Norwich were beaten 4-1 by Arsenal at the Emirates and the Canaries have been leaking so many goals of late. They have lost five of their last six, conceding 12 and scoring just twice. Their horror run in cost them dear as games against Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal have proved too much to handle at the end of a grueling season.

March 29 – at Swansea, L 0-3
April 5 – vs. West Brom, L 0-1
April 12 – at Fulham, L 0-1
April 20 – vs. Liverpool, L 2-3
April 26 – at Manchester United, L 0-4
May 4 – at Chelsea, D 0-0

What’s at stake: They are almost certain to finish in 18th position baring a miracle. Norwich last suffered relegation from the PL in 2005 and their three-year stay in the top-flight has almost come to an end as they have that sinking feeling.

When the final whistle blows: They need a 17 goal swing in order to stay up, meaning West Brom must lost by eight against Stoke and the Canaries must beat Arsenal by eight. Yeah… Norwich are down and will finish in 18th.

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.