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Aston Villa signs Tanzanian captain
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Aston Villa gets its man in prolific Tanzanian captain Samatta

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Aston Villa has captured its center forward, signing Tanzanian national team captain Mbwana Samatta in its bid for Premier League safety.

Samatta turned 27 last month and has 51 caps with 18 goals for Tanzania. He’s ineligible to play for Villa when it hosts Watford on Tuesday (Watch live at 2:30 p.m. ET online on NBCSports.com).

The fee is reported as $13 million.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“I’m so excited. It’s a huge step for me and my career. For all the people from Tanzania, it’s a big step for the country as well. Everybody is so on it, they are looking to see one Tanzanian guy who can play in the Premier League. Here today I’m him, and I’m so happy.”

The striker scored 26 times last season for Genk, and has 76 goals for the club since arriving in 2015. He scored against Liverpool and twice versus Red Bull Salzburg in this season’s Champions League group stage.

He spent time with Congolese club TP Mazembe and Tanzanian side Simba SC before that.

Villa’s 22 points are back of the Premier League’s safe spaces, and the Midlands club is a win away from the League Cup final. The semifinal second leg at Leicester City takes place Jan. 28.

LIVE, UCL: Salzburg v. Liverpool, Napoli v. Genk

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Crunch time has arrived in the UEFA Champions League.

And particularly in the Group finale as Red Bull Salzburg host Liverpool in a straight shootout to reach the last 16. Napoli host Genk in the other game in the group as the Serie A side need a point to secure their spot in the knockout rounds, but things get pretty complicated when it comes to the permutations for Jurgen Klopp and Jesse Marsch and their respective teams.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Red Bull Salzburg will reach the last 16 if they beat Liverpool at home, while the reigning UCL champions need just a point to make it to the knockout rounds. However, if Liverpool lose they will be out unless Napoli lose at home to Genk too or if Liverpool score four away goals or more and only lose by one goal (eg a 5-4 loss). Still with me?

There are sure to be plenty of twists and turns ahead as Marsch’s young side almost stunned Liverpool in the return game as they eventually lost 4-3. Goals are a guarantee in Salzburg with Erling Haaland a goalscoring machine (the teenager has eight in his first five UCL games) and we all know about Liverpool’s attacking prowess. The runaway Premier League leaders will need a few early goals to settle their nerves though.

Both games kick off at 12:55 p.m. ET and you can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.

It will be a tense occasion for the final 90 minutes of the group stage.

Liverpool beat Genk to go top of Group E (video)

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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It wasn’t pretty and it was hardly dominant, but Liverpool took care of business and beat Genk 2-1 in the two sides’ UEFA Champions League clash at Anfield on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

After going 1-0 up through Georginio Wijnaldum in the 14th minute, Liverpool were hit back just before halftime and went into the intermission with plenty of questions to be answered. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put the Reds back ahead with a clever turn and finish in the 53rd minute, and Liverpool only grew stronger from there.


Three things

1. Finishing the game, not chances: The first-half display was one of Liverpool’s least convincing of the season thus far — not bad, per se, but certainly not the mark of future Premier League champions nor a side looking to repeat as European champions. The second half was a different story, though, as Jurgen Klopp‘s side was far more assertive and in control of the small moments which cost them plenty in the first half. Mohamed Salah might have scored once or twice on another day to make the final score far more comfortable. There were plenty of chances to go around, but the finishing touch was lacking on the day.

2. A rare mistake defending a set piece: At this point, it feels just short of an end-of-the-world disaster Liverpool to concede a goal from a corner kick, given how aerially dominant they have been since the start of last season. It’s a high defensive bar they’ve set for themselves — both from open play and on set pieces — so virtually no one expected Genk to draw level like this, just a few minutes before halftime.

3. On the other hand…: This makes eight straight games (all competitions) in which Liverpool have conceded a goal. The last time they went that long without a clean sheet, the year was 2014 and Brendan Rodgers was the manager. On the bright side, they have conceded just once in six of those eight games; the other two saw Red Bull Salzburg score three and an Arsenal B-team score give (against Liverpool’s backups). We’re not at What’s wrong with the Liverpool defense? yet, but it’s certainly something to remember and keep an eye on going forward.


Man of the match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

With Napoli drawing Salzburg in Group E’s other game on Tuesday, Liverpool now sit top of the group with nine points from four games. Nothing has been decided yet, though, as Liverpool still host the Italians and visit the Austrians in the final two rounds of group play.

LIVE, UCL: Chelsea v. Ajax, Liverpool v. Genk

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Crunch time has arrived in the UEFA Champions League, with Matchweek 4 so important in deciding which teams will reach the last 16.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

There is an all-USMNT battle to look forward to as Christian Pulisic and Sergino Dest go head-to-head as Chelsea host Ajax in a pivotal clash at Stamford Bridge.

Premier League leaders and reigning European champs Liverpool host Genk as Jurgen Klopp‘s men aim to make it three-straight wins in the UCL. Elsewhere in Group E, Napoli host RB Salzburg as Jesse Marsch’s youngsters caused them an almighty shock last time out.

Elsewhere, in Group F Inter Milan travel to Borussia Dortmund in a monster clash at the Westfalenstadion. Dortmund need a win to hop above Inter in the standings, with Barcelona in pole position in the group.

Lyon host Benfica in Group G and Valencia head to Lille in Group H.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s late games, with all games kicking off at 3 p.m. ET.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.


Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League schedule

Group E
Liverpool v. Genk
Napoli v. Red Bull Salzburg

Group F
Borussia Dortmund v. Inter Milan

Group G
Lyon v. Benfica

Group H
Chelsea v. Ajax
Valencia v. Lille

Little trouble for Liverpool in blowout of Genk

(Photo by FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as Liverpool outlasted a strong effort from their Belgian hosts in a 4-1 win over Genk in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Pulisic assists Chelsea winner ]

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored late goals to finish off the Belgians, though Stephen Odey scored an 88th minute goal after the Reds had rounded out their 4-star day.

Liverpool’s six points are one behind Napoli and three ahead of Red Bull Salzburg at the midway point of Group E play.


Three things

1. “New signing” shines: Remember when Jurgen Klopp loudly proclaimed that a healthy Oxlade-Chamberlain sufficed as a new summer signing? The playmaker was fantastic in just his third start of the season. In addition to two well-taken goals, “The Ox” completed 89 percent of his passes and was credited with 79 touches, two tackles, and two dribbles.

2. “Offensive” banner brings abrupt response: Liverpool striker Divock Origi began his youth career with Genk well before he became a Champions League winner, and a banner hung in the crowd caused both clubs to issue strong statements about its being “deeply offensive.” Liverpool said the banner, which depicted Origi’s face photoshopped on a naked body next to the UCL trophy, “perpetuated a racist stereotype.”

3. Reds defense falls asleep late:  It wasn’t a great evening for center back Dejan Lovren, who was stripped of the ball in a sleepy move on the touch line, but about six teammates could’ve done something as Genk toyed with the Reds in the box to get a late concession. Not a big deal, no, but a small on-field blemish on an otherwise wonderful afternoon.

Man of the Match: Oxlade-Chamberlain


The “Ox” put the Reds on top with a nice low drive through traffic, but the first half was not without its dodgy moments.

Case in point: Naby Keita tried a poor back pass that required timely help from Virgil Van Dijk to avoid an equalizer.

Indeed, Genk thought it had an equalizer before halftime, but VAR revealed a narrow offside in the build-up. Warning sign seen by the Reds?

Mane scored before setting up Salah for 4-0, the Egyptian doing a load of work to snub several defenders.