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Haaland signs for Borussia Dortmund

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Erling Braut Haaland has signed for Borussia Dortmund for a reported $23.5 million.

The Norwegian teenager has been on fire for RB Salzburg in Austria and the UEFA Champions League this season, scoring 29 goals in 27 games in all competitions including eight goals in six UCL group stage games.

Dortmund revealed that Haaland, 19, has signed a contract until 2024 as the German giants keep their reputation of attracting the top young players in Europe intact.

Haaland had been linked with moves to Napoli, Manchester United, RB Leipzig and others, but Dortmund seems like the perfect place for him to develop his game as they need a central striker to take the pressure off Paco Alcacer and make the most of the numerous goalscoring chances the likes of Marcos Reus, Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard create.

Haaland may still end up in the Premier League in the years to come but for now the powerful Norway international is in a really good place.

Salzburg star Minamino signs for Liverpool, will join in January

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LIVERPOOL, England — Takumi Minamino will become the first Japanese player for Liverpool.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Rashford excited for Manchester Derby in League Cup semis ]

The Premier League leaders announced the signing of the 24-year-old Minamino on Thursday, saying he will officially join on Jan. 1

“It has been a dream, my dream to become a Liverpool player,” the Japan attacking midfielder said. “I’m so excited that the moment has come true.”

Minamino made a big impression in two games between Liverpool and Salzburg in the group stage of the Champions League this season.

[ MORE: Klopp: “So many strange things happened” in CWC semifinal win ]

A midfielder who can also play as a forward, Minamino joined Salzburg from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka in 2015. He reportedly had a release clause of $9.5 million.

Shinji Okazaki won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, while Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton) and Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal and Fulham) are among other Japanese to have played in England’s top division.

Liverpool in talks to activate Minamino’s release clause

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On the face of it, this move makes perfect sense for everyone concerned. Especially Liverpool, who get a bargain.

Multiple reports state that the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks to sign Japanese winger Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Minamino, 24, has a release clause of just $9.5 million and it has been reported that he will move to Liverpool in January with talks going well over a five-year contract.

RB Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund confirmed talks are ongoing about the transfer, with Bayern Munich and Marseille also said to be interested in signing the tricky winger.

“I can confirm that there are talks with Liverpool at the moment. It is an honor [for us] to see the caliber of clubs who are interested in our players.”

Minamino’s goals, pace and trickery pushed Salzburg to within one game of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and he impressed against Liverpool in both games in the UCL group stage as he scored at Anfield and gave their defense plenty of problems in the return game. His skillset would perfectly suit the way Liverpool play with his direct running, pace and nose for goal seemingly perfect for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

With Klopp and his RB Salzburg counterpart Jesse Marsch hugging on the sidelines after Liverpool’s win in Austria on Tuesday, plus Klopp’s kind words on the job the American coach is doing at Salzburg, it’s safe to say there’s a strong connection between the two teams and their styles of play are very similar.

That’s an even better reason for Minamino to head to Liverpool as the Japanese star would slot in seamlessly and he would become the third former RB Salzburg player at the Reds alongside Naby Keita and Sadio Mane.

From the style of play of both player and the club, to the small transfer fee, this works out very well for everyone involved. Even Salzburg will be happy to become known as a feeder club to Liverpool and Europe’s other big boys as that will help them with their future recruitment.

Liverpool beat spirited Salzburg, reach UCL last 16

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The reigning European champions are in the last 16 of the competition.

Liverpool won Group E on Wednesday as they beat a spirited RB Salzburg 2-0 in Austria to secure their position in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds. A defeat would have seen them knocked out of the competition at the group stage but despite a shaky start they took care of business.

Both teams had plenty of chances in the first half and at the start of the second but two moments of real quality saw Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah do the damage for the Reds as Klopp’s side plan to reach their third-straight UCL final. As for Salzburg, managed by American coach Jesse Marsch, then drop down to the UEFA Europa League for the Round of 32 stage and nobody will want to play the young, talented and speedy Austrians.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

A breathtaking game started in rapid fashion as Stankovic denied Salah, then Alisson denied Minamino and Hwang with Mwepu causing plenty of problems. Moments later Salah had a great chance as he was played in by Mane but scuffed his shot wide, while Haaland was denied by Alisson as the end-to-end nature of the game continued.

Mane’s shot was saved by Stankovic, while at the other end Haaland was denied by Alisson as the hosts continued to look dangerous and neither team had control of the game. Salah played in Keita right on half time but the former RB Salzburg player was denied by Stankovic and couldn’t finish the rebound.

In the second half Salah had a couple of very good chances but he put one over the bar and Stankovic did superbly to claw the ball back, while Haaland then slammed a shot into the side-netting from a great position.

Liverpool made the most of Haaland letting them off the hook as Dejan Lovren went off injured and moments later they were ahead.

Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s incredible ball set up an attack down the left and Mane crossed for Keita to head home as the two former Salzburg players combined to put Liverpool 1-0 up. Moments later Salah stunned Salzburg further as he raced towards goal and Stankovic came off his line with Salah at an impossible angle.

But somehow Salah squeezed the ball home from a tight angle to make it 2-0 and set up a comfortable last 30 minutes.

Hwang’s shot was deflected over by Andrew Robertson and that was the closest Salzburg came to launching an unlikely comeback, as Mane and Salah both had chances to extend the lead but it was job done for the reigning champions.

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.