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Reading snap up defender from Liverpool

Tiago Ilori didn't get many chances at Liverpool. Credit: PA

Reading have completed the signing of Tiago Ilori from Liverpool, the two clubs have confirmed.

The Portuguese defender has signed a three-and-a-half year deal at the Madjeski.

Royals manager Jaap Stam said: “Tiago is the type of defender a lot of people like - his technical skill, passing ability, pace, quality and physique. We always want players with those attributes within our squad.

“In this league, with all the games we need to play, you never know what’s going to happen with injuries and suspensions – so it’s also important we have options and the chance to rotate.

“And looking to the future, you need to seize the opportunity when players like Tiago are available, so we’re very happy that he will be joining us at Reading.”

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Stats show Man Utd midfielder improving this season

Credit: Oulala

Paul Pogba may have struggled against Liverpool on Sunday, but the midfielder has actually improved since rejoining Man United from Juventus.

Pogba handled in the area to gift Liverpool a first-half lead shortly after scuffing a shot when through on goal.

But the stats above, courtesy of Oulala, suggest the French international is continuing to develop his game under Jose Mourinho.

Pogba has created more chances per game, produced a better pass completion rate and pulled off more successful passes per game at United than he did with Juventus last season.

Pogba's take-on success rate, aerial duels won, clearances and interceptions have also improved this season, although the latter three statistics are probably due to the Premier League being more competitive than Serie A.

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Liverpool forced to withdraw Matip from Man Utd game

Liverpool have withdrawn Joel Matip from the squad to play Man United. Credit: PA

Liverpool have been forced to withdraw Joel Matip from today's crucial Premier League clash against Man United, as they continue to seek clarity from Fifa about the defender's eligibility.

The confusion surrounds Matip's omission from Cameroon's squad for the African Cup of Nations, which started on Saturday.

A statement from Liverpool read:

Liverpool Football Club can confirm Joel Matip has been withdrawn from selection for today's Premier League fixture at Manchester United as the club continues to seek clarity from FIFA ‎as to the player's eligibility.

Matip, who was not included in Cameroon's final squad for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, has previously communicated his withdrawal from consideration for international selection, with his last appearance for Cameroon occurring in September 2015.

The Cameroon Football Federation have failed to confirm that Matip can therefore play club football during the period of the Africa Cup of Nations. Liverpool have subsequently repeatedly sought, as a matter of urgency, clarity from FIFA in this regard. This includes assurances the player was called up for the tournament in accordance with the world governing body's regulations.

It is Liverpool's view that the player should be available for club football during the period of the competition and will continue to work for a speedy and unambiguous resolution.

– Liverpool FC statement

Klopp keen to avoid Man United v Liverpool overhype

Klopp doesn't want his players to get carried away with the occasion. Credit: PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists their trip to face arch-rivals Manchester United does not take on any extra significance just because both teams are back battling at the top end of the table.

The Reds went into the weekend in second place while United's six successive Premier League victories - as part of a nine-match winning run - have taken Jose Mourinho's side to within five points of their bitter north-west rivals.

October's meeting was a dour goalless draw as United were still getting to grips with Mourinho's tactics after his summer appointment, but even though the stakes appear higher at Old Trafford on Sunday Klopp said that is not the case.

He said:

It is not about making it bigger than it actually is. You can be 10th and they can be first, or they are 15th and we are first - it makes no difference to the game.

It is very important we know about this. It is a special game and we are aware of it. The players know more about the fixture, most are experienced enough.

If we can win there it would be nice but there are a lot of games to play and a lot of points which you should get and these are only three of them.

Both teams, especially in the long term, are in a good shape. We can lose against each team and we can win against each team.

– Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
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