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New Liverpool addition Van Dijk speaks following blockbuster move

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Jurgen Klopp‘s side has received very little criticism about the quality of the team’s attack under his watch, and now with a big-money defensive signing the German will be hoping to patch up a big hole with the addition of Virgil Van Dijk.

[ MORE: PST discusses the best of 2017 ]

The 26-year-old Dutchman officially joined Liverpool on Monday as the new year officially rolled around, thus completing his move from Southampton.

The Reds will be in action on Monday as they travel to Burnley in an important top-10 matchup, however, Van Dijk will not feature for Klopp’s men.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Van Dijk’s first interview as a Red:

On why the Dutchman selected Liverpool

“I think the most important thing is the size of the club, the culture of the club, the players, the manager and obviously the fans, who make the club this special. With the history at the club and everything around it – even the training ground and stuff – it is just a perfect, perfect match for me, and for my family as well.”

On what it feels like to play at Anfield

“I think something special. I think Anfield is a very special stadium and it is my home right now as well. I am just looking forward to being on the pitch, especially as a [home] player at the stadium. It’s going to be nice, especially the evening games and the European nights.”

On Van Dijk’s style as a defender

“I am vocal, I am obviously pretty tall, I like to command the defensive line and have the ball as well. I like to play out from the back and be comfortable on the ball. Obviously there is a lot of improvement still to come, but I think the manager can help me with that.”

On playing in the Champions League… again

“Yes, a lot. Obviously I have played in the Champions League with Celtic and that was very special as well. Liverpool is up there as well with the atmosphere and the fans. I am just looking forward to everything! Everything is perfect; the stadium, the training ground, the facilities and the people who work at the club, the people and the city, the fans. It is just the perfect place for me to be, and for my family to be as well.”

On why he selected the no. 4 kit

“I had No.4 when I played for Groningen back in Holland, so I was always a big fan of No.4 anyway. Unfortunately at Southampton, my good friend Jordy Clasie had No.4, so I didn’t want to take it from him! I just like No.4. Obviously here, Sami Hyypia had it here as well and played for my team where I played 10 years in Holland, Willem II, so it’s a bit special.”

On the brilliance of the Reds attack

“Yeah, very happy! With Southampton we saw it with our own eyes [in November]. There is a lot of quality up front. I think the whole team is full of quality. They’ve been showing it already throughout the season.”

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.