Jannik Vestergaard

Storm Dennis
@Portadownfc

WATCH: Storm Dennis provides humorous highlight in Northern Ireland

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Storm Dennis got the better of gameplay this weekend through plenty of the British Isles.

Whipping winds and incessant rain cost the matches style if not the game itself — just ask Jannik Vestergaard — and did plenty of damage to the pitch.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Look no further than Northern Ireland, where Portadown FC met Queens University on Saturday.

The Ulster-based club cruised to a 7-1 win despite muddy, bogged goal mouths.

At least one of the goals was nearly prevented by the pitch, and striker Adam Salley though he had himself an easy one when he wheeled away in celebration after rolling a shot past the keeper.

He must’ve wondered about the bizarre crowd noise, which rose, fell, and rose again as teammate Chris Lavery reacted quickly to pounce on the ball as it died in the mud.

At least they got to play the game.

Saints on Storm Dennis-affected loss: ‘Lot of scrapping, fighting, not a lot of playing’

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Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard thought his side went unrewarded for a scrappy effort on a miserable day.

The weather was one thing, as Storm Dennis sent strong winds and fierce rain to the 2-1 loss to Burnley at St. Mary’s.

VAR’s decision not to overturn an ungiven penalty on the field is stuck firmly in Jannik Vestergaard’s craw.

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While manager Ralph Hasenhuttl wasn’t drawn into much of a discussion on the incident, saying, “It’s boring to discuss this to be honest, there is no clear line.”

Vestergaard was ready to share his thoughts.

“No explanations because the decisions are famously decided by the Video Assistant Referee,” he said. “I think it’s a pen. I don’t know what the exact rules but I think he had his arm wide of his body. The ref chose not to give it and we have to create more chances.”

Vestergaard also says the weather affected both teams and was sure the game wasn’t a spectacle of entertaining football (He was correct).

“It turned into quite a battle. Balls flying high in the wind, very very difficult to foresee where they would come down. Lot of fighting for second balls, technical mistakes. Lot of scrapping, lot of fighting, not a lot of playing. I don’t think it was a great game to watch. We tried to accept the circumstances and make the best of it.”

Saints have a nice run of fixtures ahead, but would’ve wanted and probably should’ve had a result on Saturday at home. With fifth place possibly being a Champions League spot, this one will sting for days.

Watch Live: Southampton v. Burnley

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Southampton host Burnley on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at St Mary’s as two teams in good form aim to push for a top 10 finish.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Ralph Hasenhuttl and Sean Dyche have turned things around for their teams in recent weeks and this is a great chance for them to pull further away from the relegation zone.

In team news Saints make four changes as Sofiane Boufal, Stuart Armstrong, Kyle Walker-Peters and Jannik Vestergaard come into the team with KWP making his debut and Nathan Redmond missing out due to injury.

Burnley make one change with Phil Bardsley coming in for the injured Matt Lowton.

LINEUPS

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v. Southampton

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Liverpool puts its unbeaten Premier League season on the line Saturday when Southampton visits Anfield (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The storyline is going to be the same each week until someone scores more goals than the Reds in a single match. They have won 23 of 24 matches and only 14 more to go.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

The next scrap comes with Saints, who have been thriving after early-season misery. Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men have risen to ninth place, three points off fifth-place Manchester United.

Liverpool beat Saints 2-1 at St. Mary’s on Aug. 17.


Injuries/suspensions

Liverpool: OUT —  Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mane, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne. QUESTIONABLE — Adam Lallana, Divock Origi.

Southampton: OUT — Stuart Armstrong. QUESTIONABLE — Yan Valery, Jannik Vestergaard, Shane Long.


Probable lineups

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Minamino, Firmino, Salah.

Southampton: Gunn, Bertrand, Bednarek, Stephens, Danso, Boufal, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Adams, Ings


What they’re saying

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp on Mohamed Salah’s future: “How can you see the hunger to stay at Liverpool? It looks to me like he is really settled to be honest. I have no idea, actually, but you could ask me the same question for all the others and I have no idea. I didn’t think about it until [the press] asked me.

Virgil van Dijk on leaving Southampton for Liverpool: “The decision I made has not been too bad. I’m 28 now and I want to fulfil every dream I ever had. Life can be short. Your career can be short as well. I want to enjoy every minute of it. I’m enjoying playing with this team and this manager. We can’t look too far ahead. But right now, I’m enjoying it. I don’t look at the table. You [only] need to look at the table at the end of the season.”

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl on loaning Kyle Walker-Peters“If he feels comfortable here and plays well and we feel comfortable with him and he likes to play with us, there is always an option to get him in the summer. Even if it’s not written down, there’s always an option. I always say, small flowers, you have to look after them and give them water and then they sometimes turn into beautiful flowers. This is something we try with all the young players and give them the chance to develop.”


Prediction

The Reds find a stiff test, but another 2-1 win.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

Southampton cruise past Palace

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Southampton continued their incredible run of form as they cruised past Crystal Palace and won 2-0 at Selhurst Park.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

The scoreline didn’t reflect the dominance of Ralph Hasenhutt’s side as Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong scored stunners in each half to grab all three points.

With the win Saints move up to ninth on 31 points as they jump ahead of Palace who have 30 points.


3 things we learned

1. Away day specialists do it again: Southampton have now won five Premier League games in a row away from home. They’ve beat Aston Villa, Chelsea, Leicester City and now Palace on the road as Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side are so lethal on the counter and seem to catch teams out. Their intense pressure pins their opponents back and the pace of Obafemi and Redmond was too much for Palace to handle. Six of their nine PL wins have come away from home and if they could somehow replicate this form at home, they will be battling for a top four finish. Southampton have won 65 percent of their points in away games this season (20/31), the highest such ratio in the PL.

2. Palace’s lackluster attack needs an upgrade: Zaha had an off day out wide but Ayew and Tosun ahead of him missed chances and didn’t look sharp at all. Palace brought in Tosun on loan and he blazed a great chance over at 0-0 and he probably isn’t the answer to their goalscoring woes. Only Watford have scored fewer than Palace’s 22 goals from 24 games and Roy Hodgson was a disgruntled figure at the final whistle. His squad have been stretched to its limits and hit by injuries and their exploits away at Man City on Saturday hit them hard.

3. Saints’ squad stronger than they think: With Cedric going down injured during the game, Jan Bednarek out injured and Danny Ings rested, perhaps Saints don’t need to do business this month. Maybe a new right back would be good, but aside from that Obafemi played well and Vestergaard was solid enough aside from one scary moment.

Man of the Match: Stuart Armstrong – The Scotsman was everywhere and had so many shots and he finally curled home a beauty. He has been a big part of Saints’ resurgence since they switched to a 4-2-2-2 formation. A special mention to James Ward-Prowse, who had to slot over to right back to replace the injured Cedric and shut down Wilfried Zaha.


Southampton started really well and had plenty of possession as Palace sat back and soaked up the pressure.

The first big chance of the game came via a counter attack as Jannik Vestergaard intercepted the ball but was caught in possession as Cenk Tosun went through on goal but blazed over.

Cedric and Shane Long both went down with injuries early on and Southampton’s Portuguese right back came off injured with Oriol Romeu coming on.

Moments after that sub Southampton took the lead as Redmond turned Martin Kelly inside out, then rifled a superb effort into the far top corner to give the visitors a deserved 1-0 lead.

Vicente Guaita then denied Stuart Armstrong’s deflected effort as he tipped it over the bar and the Scotsman dragged another effort wide as Saints dominate the first half.

Saints hit Palace on the break and Redmond set Long clean through but the Irish striker got his first touch all wrong and the ball went out of play, then Long’s flicked header went just wide.

VAR reviewed an incident on the break as Wilfried Zaha clashed with Ward-Prowse and appeared to put his hand in the face of the Southampton man.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Palace started the second half well as Tosun headed wide after good work down the left with James Ward-Prowse a growing influence in the game.

Saints doubled their lead in spectacular fashion as Redmond worked the ball inside and teed up Armstrong who curled home from distance to send the away fans wild.

Vestergaard almost made it 3-0 as his flick from a set piece almost looped in, then Long shot straight at Guaita from a great position.

Substitute Connor Wickham was played in by fellow sub Max Meyer but he couldn’t control the ball in a good situation and subs Danny Ings smashed over from an offside position as Saints eased to victory.