Liverpool – Aston Villa saw late drama as the Reds continue to surge late in the season as Jurgen Klopp’s side boosted their top four hopes.
Villa went ahead through an Ollie Watkins goal, and Roberto Firmino had a goal ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside in the build-up.
Liverpool surged back in the second half as Mohamed Salah equalized and Trent Alexander-Arnold smashed home right at the end to seal a deserved, but hard fought, win.
This win means Liverpool have ended their run of six-straight league defeats at home, as they move on to 52 points. Villa remain on 44 points.
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Three things we learned
1. Alexander-Arnold keeps pushing: He had a rough outing defensively against Real Madrid in midweek as Liverpool were punished by Real’s star forwards, but Alexander-Arnold was back to his marauding best (going forward) and was the matchwinner with wonderful strike in the 91st minute. With Gareth Southgate watching on, TAA showed the England boss that he is surely worthy of a least a place as his back-up right back this summer. Heck, Alexander-Arnold could be deployed as a winger. With fine crosses and an assist last week at Arsenal and a stunning later winner v. Villa, TAA is playing a leading role in Liverpool’s top four push.
2. Liverpool have renewed energy: Last weekend against Arsenal and this weekend against Villa they looked the real deal. The energy and zip is back for Klopp’s side, at least in the league. Will it return against Real Madrid in midweek? They looked jaded in their 3-1 loss at Real, and that can happen, but their push for the top four seems to be on track as they have a very favorable schedule coming up.
3. Villa missing Grealish badly: Somehow they were 1-0 up, but Dean Smith will admit his side did not deserve anything. Jack Grealish has had an injury setback and that is a big blow, mentally, for this Villa side. They hung in there against Liverpool but didn’t look too disappointed despite coughing up a late goal to lose a point.
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah – Always a threat, scored another goal and made things happen.
Liverpool started sharply as Salah was denied by Emiliano Martinez, then Tyrone Mings made a big mistake to let Salah in but Martinez cut off the angle well.
Trent Alexander-Arnold had a free kick flicked over by Martinez, while Jota header just over from the resulting corner.
After dominating the entire first half, Liverpool then fell behind. Ozan Kabak won the ball but there was a quick turnover and John McGinn played in Watkins who struck hard and low at Alisson and the ball somehow squirmed home.
Seconds later, Liverpool thought they were level right on half time. Jota was played in over the top and the ball eventually found Firmino who dinked home… but VAR was used and Jota was judged to have been millimetres offside when the initial ball was played.
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Liverpool did equalize early in the second half as Andrew Robertson surged forward down the left and his shot was pushed out by Martinez straight to Salah who nodded home to make it 1-1.
Trezeguet then hit the post at the other end after good hold up play from Watkins as the game opened up.
Liverpool then won it late on as Xherdan Shaqiri whipped in a cross that Thiago smashed towards goal but Martinez saved.
The ball then found its way to Alexander-Arnold on the edge of the box who smashed home a beauty to win it in stoppage time.