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Mourinho on “tired” Lukaku, Liverpool’s Van Dijk deal

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Jose Mourinho has said that Romelu Lukaku is “tired” and “needs a little rest” after his recent defensive mistakes have cost Manchester United goals from set pieces.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Lukaku has been involved in half clearances and marking which has gone wrong in goals conceded against Manchester City and Burnley, which saw United pick up just one point in those two games.

United still sit in second place in the PL table but are 15 points behind Manchester City and just six points above fifth-place Tottenham.

Lukaku has played in every single second of all 20 Premier League games for United so far this season, scoring 10 goals.

“The boy is tired. He is physically a monster but not a machine and he is feeling it,” Mourinho said. “For striker in the Premier League to play 20 matches, 90 minutes, I have to be very grateful for his personality and character. He was in the picture in some of the last goals we concede but all is a consequence of a player who really needs a little rest.”

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to full fitness, Mourinho has an option to rest Lukaku. But it’s unlikely he will.

United host Southampton on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) and they need to chase down City at every opportunity. Mourinho can’t afford to rest Lukaku as United aim to stay in pole position among the chasing pack to finish in the top four.

As for United’s bitter rivals Liverpool, Mourinho has been having his say on Jurgen Klopp splashing $100 million on center back Virgil Van Dijk.

The fee is a world-record for a defender and plenty of managers are weighing in about whether or not the Dutch defender is worth the money.

“Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players, yes. But if you bring one player in for £100m or whatever, and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney. Do I have to do it differently to that? Actually, I want to do it differently. I would even do it differently if I could spend that money,” Mourinho said. “The day that this is football, I’m not in a job any more… “I am not speaking specifically now about that case [Van Dijk] because in Liverpool they do what they want to do and I am nobody to comment on what they do.”

Mourinho then continued: “The reality is if they think the player is the right player for them, they pay this amount or they don’t have the player because that is the way the market is now,” Mourinho said. “Van Dijk is the most expensive defender in the history of football, Was he better than Maldini or Ferdinand? You cannot say that, it is just the way the market is – pay or don’t pay.”

Mourinho then reminded everyone of Klopp’s criticism of big money deals in the summer of 2016 when United signed Paul Pogba from Juventus for a then world-record fee.

“No critics at all about what Liverpool did. It is just the way it is. I think the one to speak about it in a specific way has to be Jurgen. If I was one of you, I would ask him about his comments about one year ago,” Mourinho said.

He can’t help himself.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.