CHRISTOPH ZIMMERMANN hopes to avoid a footballing lesson being delivered at Carrow Road today.
The Norwich defender spent yesterday evening on his computer, studying clips of the potent Liverpool strikeforce.
It is a truly remarkable turnaround when you consider that, in 2017, Zimmermann was using his laptop, but to prepare for life as a teacher.
Frustrated playing for Borussia Dortmund’s second string in Germany’s fourth tier, he was ready to quit football and embark on a new career.
Instead, Zimmermann got a call from his ex-Dortmund II boss Daniel Farke, who invited him to sign for Norwich.
And in their second season in Norfolk, the pair earned promotion to the Premier League.
Ahead of their daunting test against Liverpool, Zimmermann, 27, said: “In football, there are many small situations that can go in your favour — or against you — which can make a big difference.
“My initial deal at Dortmund’s second team expired in 2016 so they offered me to stay for just one more year.
“But because I was playing in the fourth tier, I started my teaching studies in sports and maths from October 2016, while I was playing.
“In 2017, if the manager had not called me about coming to Norwich, things could have been different.
“Instead, I have come to Norwich and got lucky.
“Now, we have our toughest challenge this season and that is to stop Liverpool. No other team has done that. Even when they drew, they still scored!
“We will do our analysis like any other side. I will get a file on all of the players I am up against with clips and notes.
“I always watch them the night before the game.
“I know what Salah, Firmino and Mane are like — but we will still try to find a weakness.
“It is different from maybe last season when we were preparing for games against teams who had just come up from League One and did not know much about them.
“I think if you play 25 games in this league and have only dropped two points, it shows your quality as a team.
“If you win 24 games and draw one, you are not lucky.”
Zimmermann first came across Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp when the pair were at Dortmund.
The 6ft 4in defender said: “He left in 2015. I was there in 2014 after the World Cup in Brazil and not all the internationals were back.
“The first team were short of players so I joined them at a pre-season training camp in Switzerland and played in a couple of friendlies.
“So, yes, our paths crossed a little. But I don’t know if Klopp remembers. David Wagner was in charge of the second team and he was close with Klopp, there was always communication between both teams.”
Zimmermann helped Norwich to the Championship title last season but missed the opening game of the season at Liverpool — a 4-1 thumping — because he was still recovering from a knee operation.
Then just 21 minutes into his top-flight debut at West Ham on August 31, he was injured by a nasty challenge from Sebastien Haller.
It was an unusual injury on the top of his foot.
Zimmermann, who received an apology from the striker, said: “I came in for scans and the foot did not look great.
“I was told ‘This one is nasty and you have to be careful as it could cause you damage throughout your career’. But now the foot and knee are OK.”
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Rock-bottom Norwich are seven points off safety and need a miracle to survive.
Having beaten Manchester City at home this season, they need to somehow repeat that success today against Klopp’s runaway league leaders.
Zimmermann added: “In Germany, when you come back from the winter break if you have done well before, you can struggle to get into your rhythm.
“Hopefully, we are strong and fresh and Liverpool are rusty! But if Liverpool play their best, it will be very difficult.”
NORWICH (likely): Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley, Byram, Tettey, McLean, Buendia, Duda, Cantwell, Pukki.
LIVERPOOL (likely): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.