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Report: Chelsea, Liverpool battle for Aubameyang

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Chelsea and Liverpool are said to both be interested in signing Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

A report from the Daily Mirror says that Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign the Gabonese striker, 28, in January, while the Daily Express believe Liverpool are also interested despite his brother saying the Bundesliga’s reigning Golden Boot winner is focused on staying at Dortmund.

Aubameyang has been consistently linked with a move to Liverpool since Jurgen Klopp, his former boss at Dortmund, took over at Anfield in October 2015. Following his red card in Dortmund’s collapse in the Revierderby vs. Schalke at the weekend (they led 4-0 after 25 minutes but ended up drawing 4-4) the striker was the subject of extreme abuse from Dortmund’s fans, despite scoring 17 goals in 19 appearances this season.

It looked likely Aubameyang would leave Dortmund in the summer with reports of a move to Chelsea, the Chinese Super League and AC Milan rife and plenty of speculation about his future, but he has remained at Dortmund and has continued his incredible goalscoring record with 137 goals in 208 games in all competitions since 2013.

Chelsea’s move for Aubemeyang would make more sense, even with Alvaro Morata arriving from Real Madrid in the summer for $90 million.

If Morata gets injured, Chelsea aren’t blessed with plenty of replacements. Antonio Conte doesn’t seem to be a fan of Michy Batshuayi, while the likes of Tammy Abraham are out on loan.

With Conte playing Eden Hazard and Morata up front together in recent weeks, there is potential there for Chelsea to play with two out-and-out strikers in Morata and Aubameyang together. What a striker partnership that would be, with Morata also capable of playing out wide if necessary.

As for Liverpool, they do lack a proper target man in attack with Daniel Sturridge‘s future still uncertain despite the fact that he started against Chelsea at the weekend but he has scored just three goals in 15 appearances in all competitions this season.

Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah are Liverpool’s first-choice front four but it would be tough to believe Klopp wouldn’t want to be reunited with Aubameyang if that was an option.

That’s the big if here but with Dortmund stumbling along in fifth place in the Bundesliga and out of the Champions League, this may seem like a good time for Aubameyang to move on and the German side to cash in while they still can.

Mourinho on muted celebrations from Lukaku, himself

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There’s a lot of buzz about celebrating, and not celebrating, when it comes to Manchester United.

Star striker Romelu Lukaku‘s post-goal actions were muted for a second-straight week, and manager Jose Mourinho appeared nonchalant on the bench.

[ RECAP: WBA 1-2 Man Utd ]

For Lukaku, that could be down to his status as a former West Brom player (and to be sure he was quite energetic in support of Jesse Lingard‘s insurance goal).

As for Mourinho, this is a man who was quite critical of Man City’s celebrations after winning a derby at Old Trafford. And Jose isn’t one to let a story line die unnecessarily.

Here’s Mourinho when asked about Lukaku’s non-celebration, from the BBC:

“Maybe he looks to the bench and sees his manager doesn’t celebrate. Maybe he loves West Brom. Maybe he remembers the team that helped him early in his career.

“I will celebrate if my team scores a winning goal in the last minute. But you have to have more maturity and keep your feet on the ground. If some guys want to be kids until the last day of their careers or if they want to act to the cameras then they can. But if we score an important goal then I can do anything.”

United is back to within 11 points of leaders Man City, and it’s a massive mountain to climb for the Red Devils. Yet Ander Herrera, who was terrific again on Sunday, said the directive is simple: control what you can.

“We won three titles last season, which was very good. It is true that the top of the table is difficult to reach right now but this is Premier League, you never know. Our aim is just to keep winning games.”

The side’s 41 points through 18 matches would’ve been enough to lead the Premier League in two of the previous four seasons. No one’s going to tell United to be content with where they stand, but it’s been a fine season for Mourinho’s men so far.

WATCH: Liverpool battering Bournemouth with highlight reel half

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Philippe Coutinho is capable of elite magic, and he conjured up some fantasy on Sunday at the Vitality Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch via NBCSports.com ]

Liverpool and Bournemouth were scoreless when the Brazilian dribbled past Simon Francis and Lewis Cook on a mazy run, taking Andrew Robertson‘s square pass and dancing through daylight.

If only there were a body cam on Adam Smith, who was chasing Coutinho the whole time!

Dejan Lovren — does this require we say “of all people?” — then scored a diving header after Roberto Firmino saved a wayward corner kick.

And Mohamed Salah, what else can you say about the 20-goal scorer (in all competitions)?

Salah would get his goal in stunning fashion, bodying off a defender before dribbling past two more to finish with an off-balance belt past Begovic.

Kaka calls it a career; Won World Cup, Ballon d’Or

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He’s the last Ballon d’Or winner neither named Messi nor Ronaldo, and he’s calling it a career.

Kaka announced his retirement on Sunday after a gleaming career on three continents.

Born Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, Kaka won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil and also boasts two Confederations Cup wins amongst his 92 caps and 29 international goals.

[ MAN CITY-SPURS: 3 things |  Studs and duds ]

Kaka debuted for Sao Paolo in 2001, and left for AC Milan three seasons later. Thrice names in the UEFA Team of the Year and twice the Serie A Footballer of the Year, Kaka won Serie A with Milan and La Liga with Real Madrid.

He spent the final three seasons of his career in Major League Soccer with Orlando City SC, and was magnificent. The 35-year-old scored 25 goals with 19 assists for the Lions.

West Brom 1-2 Manchester United: Red Devils hang on

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  • United back into second
  • Lukaku scores 10th PL goal of season
  • Baggies winless in 16

Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard scored first half goals and Manchester United held on to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

Gareth Barry scored the Baggies’ lone goal, as Alan Pardew‘s men sit 19th and without a win since August.

United pulls three points ahead of Chelsea, and is 11 points back of Man City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Brom wasn’t intimidated by the task at hand, and James McClean was particularly lively as the Baggies tried to find an opener.

But United quickly settled into control through possession, albeit without any effective incisiveness.

That changed when Lukaku rose to deposit a trademark header beyond the reach of Ben Foster, converting Marcus Rashford‘s cross with power.

After a moment of danger provided by Allan Nyom and Salomon Rondon, United made it 2-0 when Lingard took a lay-off from Juan Mata and hit a shot that Ahmed Hegazi deflected past Foster.

Jake Livermore forced David De Gea into a low save in the 44th minute.

 

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Baggies pulled one back as both Evans and Barry could’ve tapped in a loose ball off a corner kick.

Barry did, and United was on its heels. Credit Alan Pardew for his substitutes of Barry, Chris Brunt, and Jay Rodriguez (though they were, after all, on the bench).

Rodriguez powered a header off Brunt’s cross wide of the near post with about five minutes to play.

And a scramble in front nearly put the Baggies level, but De Gea was there. The keeper was kicked by Ahmed Hegazi and came up smarting.