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Liverpool take a 1-0 lead into their Europa League tie with Trabzonspor on Thursday – click here for big match betting.

Schalke have signed Ghana defender Hans Sarpei from Bayer Leverkusen and are eager to clinch a deal with Real Madrid for Dutch international midfielder Rafael van der Vaart.

Sarpei, who was involved in Ghana’s World Cup run to the quarter-finals last month, joins last season’s runners-up Schalke on a two-year contract.

Coach Felix Magath said Sarpei, 34, would add experience to his backline after the departure of Brazilian Rafinha.

“After Rafinha left (for Italy’s Genoa) we were looking for a player who can play both left and right in the defence,” he said.

The coach added that he was sign to acquire Van der Vaart but had yet to agree terms with Real.

Last month Schalke signed former Spain striker Raul from Real.

“Raul has a lot of respect for him (Van der Vaart) and he would fit in here nicely,” said Magath. “But as it stands at the moment we cannot and will not meet all the demands.”

Liverpool take a 1-0 lead into their Europa League tie with Trabzonspor on Thursday – click here for big match betting.

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