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Liverpool confirms signing of Virgil Van Dijk

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Liverpool ended one of last summer’s longest transfer sagas on Wednesday announcing the transfer signing of Virgil Van Dijk.

The Telegraph in England is reporting that Liverpool and Southampton have agreed to a $100.5 million transfer fee for Virgil Van Dijk, who will complete the move to Merseyside in the coming days. The report states that personal terms for the transfer are around $241,000 per week (more than $12.5 million per year). Terms of the deal were not disclosed by Liverpool.

The news puts an end to an embarrassing transfer saga for Liverpool from the summer when it had been reported that Van Dijk wanted to leave Southampton for Liverpool and a fee of around $80 million had been offered by Jurgen Klopp‘s club.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

However, the leak from Van Dijk forced him to the reserves and ended up with a complaint to the Premier League and a public apology from Liverpool for pursuing him.

Without Van Dijk, Liverpool has had a number of matches this season where it had looked like it would run away with all three points, only for another team to come back and tie, such as Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League. or Arsenal in the Premier League.

Van Dijk hasn’t been on his best form this season but perhaps a move to his preferred landing spot will freshen him up ahead of the second half of the Premier League season as well as Champions League knockout stage matches beginning in February.

With no World Cup to look forward to, Van Dijk can put his whole energy into improving Liverpool’s beleaguered backline, potentially pushing the team above Chelsea and Manchester United in the Premier League table.

Van Dijk confirmed the transfer on Wednesday on his Instagram profile.

Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player! 🔴🔴🔴 Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football! I can’t wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come ⚽️ I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Les Reed, the board, manager, players, fans and everyone at Southampton. I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and despite a difficult last few months I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and have made friends for life at the club. Thank you for everything 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Thank you for all the messages of support 💪🏾 I’m now looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting started 🔴 #YNWA

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Video: Fekir’s brilliant free kick has Lyon leading PSG

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Paris-Saint Germain has established itself as one of Europe’s best sides, but their opponent on Sunday isn’t playing scared against Neymar and Co.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints play to 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s ]

Lyon has taken a 1-0 lead inside the opening two minutes against the Parisians after a stunning free kick by Nabil Fekir caught PSG keeper Alphonse Aréola off his line.

The hosts could move all the way up to second place today with a victory over PSG, who holds the league lead in Ligue 1 with a nine-point advantage.

The 24-year-old Fekir has been a revelation for Lyon in his fifth season with the club, scoring his 19th goal in all competitions on Sunday.

That total has already surpassed his career-high from the 2014/15 season, when he eclipsed 15 goals.

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie injured in Schalke draw

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Look away, U.S. Men’s National Team fans.

American and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of Sunday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Hanover 96 after the 19-year-old collided with Felix Kraus.

McKennie, who entered the match in the 62nd minute for Leon Goretzka, managed to stay on the field for nearly 20 minutes before being substituted out.

To this point there has been no indication that the young USMNT player’s injury is serious.

More to follow…

Watford announces Gracia as Silva replacement

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Watford’s replacement for fired manager Marco Silva is indeed veteran Spanish boss Javi Gracia.

[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]

The Hornets announced the 47-year-old’s hiring on Sunday, hours after firing Silva and blaming Everton’s pursuit of the manager for the club’s fall from European contender to the fringe of a relegation battle.

Watford is still four points clear of the drop following Southampton’s draw with Spurs on Sunday.

Gracia led Malaga to eighth and ninth place finishes in La Liga between 2014-16 before spending last season at Rubin Kazan.

Gracia, 47, has led promotion campaigns in Spain and has plenty of experience with perceived smaller clubs battling the drop zone.

Watford will hope the Hornets don’t reach that point after flirting with the Top Seven for the first quarter of the Premier League season.

Pochettino on sloppy Spurs draw, dismisses Malcom “rumor”

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Mauricio Pochettino knows St. Mary’s well, and the ex-Southampton boss has managed a rainy, sloppy match or three there in the past.

[ RECAP: Saints 1-1 Spurs ]

So he knows it’s possible to play well in those circumstances, leaving him feeling like Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday was a wasted opportunity against a struggling Saints side.

“It is temporary that Southampton are in the relegation zone, for sure they will push up the table,” Pochettino said. “It is two points we are going to miss at the end of the season because it is so tough between six or seven teams.”

[ MORE: Bertrand reacts to draw ]

So why couldn’t Spurs find their foothold? Well, aside from sickness keeping Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out of the lineup, a bug that may’ve affected more on the team, Spurs just weren’t up to snuff.

“We struggled to play,” Pochettino said. “It was in possession, we made mistakes which allowed them to play. To win the game we should do better and play better. It wasn’t great.

Pochettino was also asked about Spurs’ reported pursuit of 20-year-old Bordeaux star Malcom, who has seven goals and five assists in Ligue 1 this season.

“That is a rumor and I don’t want to speak about it. I am happy with our squad. We are open to quality players but you know very well it is difficult in this transfer window.”