Trent Alexander Arnold struck a stunning stoppage-time winner as Liverpool bolstered their bid to finish in the Champions League places with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side bounced back from their Champions League chastening in Madrid to move above West Ham into fourth spot and end their recent L4 hoodoo.
The Reds started brightly and created several chances with Mo Salah wasting a gilt-edged opening when clear on goal on 13 minutes.
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It proved to be a costly miss as Villa sneaked in front when Ollie Watkins, who struck a hat-trick against the Reds in the Villans’ 7-2 win in October, somehow squeezed a low shot under Alisson on 43 minutes.

Aston Villa's English striker Ollie Watkins (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 10, 2021

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Liverpool thought they had levelled in first-half stoppage-time but Roberto Firmino’s close-range finish was chalked off by VAR as Diogo Jota was ruled offside in the build up.
The home side continued to look the more likely after the break and eventually ended a 12 hour and 44-minute wait for a league goal from open play on home turf when Salah nodded in a rebound just prior to the hour.
The Reds struggled to build on their momentum though and left it late to snatch victory when Alexander Arnold curled a wonderful finish into the corner.
Liverpool will now gear up for the second leg of their Champions League quarter final with Real Madrid on Wednesday. Villa are not in action until they host leaders Man City in the Premier League on Wednesday April 21.

TALKING POINT

Liverpool remember how it feels to win at Anfield just in time for Real. So there we have it, Liverpool have won at Anfield for the first time since December 16th. They end a six-match losing run in L4 and enjoy that winning feeling on their home ground for the first time in nine league games. It’s an extraordinary stat given they had previously gone 68-league matches unbeaten there.

Liverpool's English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 10, 2021

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This was important, not just in terms of their top four bid, but also from a psychological perspective. Talk of their home woes will now fade and they can approach Wednesday’s second leg with Real Madrid without that hanging over them. It remains a tall order for this Liverpool team to progress in Europe at this juncture, particularly without the Anfield crowd factor, but this win will at least instil some belief and confidence in the players.
It had actually looked like VAR may dominate post-match discussion after another lengthy review ruled out a first-half equaliser for Liverpool by the narrowest of margins. It remains one of the biggest frustrations for supporters of all clubs when VAR gets overly fussy over close calls like this, but given how the second half panned out, it won’t be the talking point that completely dominates now which is a relief to us all.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) Responded to his howler in Madrid with a fine showing. Remains Liverpool’s playmaker from full back and produced a series of fine passes and deliveries throughout. Stepped forward late on to claim a vital win for his team and did it all in front of England coach, Gareth Southgate.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) congratulates Liverpool's English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 10, 2021.

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PLAYER RATINGS

LIVERPOOL: Alisson 5, Alexander-Arnold 8, N Phillips 6, Kabak 6, Robertson 7, Wijnaldum 6, Fabinho 7, Milner 7, Salah 7, Jota 7, Firmino 7. Subs: Thiago 6, Mane 6, Shaqiri n/a.
ASTON VILLA: Martinez 7, Cash 6, Konsa 6, Mings 6, Targett 7, Luiz 7, McGinn 7, Trezeguet 7, Nakamba 6, Traore 6, Watkins 7. Subs: Barkley 6, El Ghazi 6, Ramsey n/a.
Matchcast: Full match stats and commentary

KEY MOMENTS

13’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCE! It should be 1-0. Mings fails to collect Jota's pass forward and allows Salah to spring free. He surges towards the keeper but stabs his shot wide of the far post.
43’ - GOAL! – Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa. The visitors nick the lead! Watkins takes McGinn's pass and somehow squeezes a low shot under Alisson.
45+3’ – LIVERPOOL GOAL RULED BY VAR! Firmino gobbles up a loose ball from close range after Robertson's shot was deflected into his path. It all came after Jota had cut it back from the left following a raking pass from Trent AA. VAR is checking for offside against Jota though.... After what seems like an absolute age it is disallowed for offside. That's a close call.
57’ - GOAL! – Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa. Liverpool are definitely level this time! Salah nods in the rebound after Martinez could only parry Robertson's rasping shot.
62’ – ASTON VILLA CHANCE! Trezeguet sees a lovely strike with the outside of his foot hit the far post and bounce kindly for the home side.
90+1’ - GOAL! – Liverpool 2-1 Aston Villa. Alexander Arnold fires a wonderful strike into the far corner from the edge of the box after Martinez had made a brilliant save to keep out Thiago.

KEY STATS

Watkins is the first player to score as many as four Premier League goals against Liverpool in a season since Andrey Arshavin did so in 2008-09.
No team has scored more goals in a single PL season against Liverpool than Aston Villa (8)
Salah's goal ended Liverpool's run of 12 hours and 44 minutes without scoring from open play at Anfield in the Premier League.
Liverpool have now scored 37 winning goals in the 90th minute or later in the Premier League, at least 12 more than any other side in the competition.
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