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anfield win 'We can stop that chat about Trent' - Jurgen Klopp salutes Liverpool's last-gasp hero

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Jurgen Klopp celebrates with Trent Alexander-Arnold.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp celebrates with Trent Alexander-Arnold. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp celebrates with Trent Alexander-Arnold. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp declared Trent Alexander-Arnold silenced his doubters as he fired a dramatic injury time winner against Aston Villa.

Alexander-Arnold’s stunning strike ended Liverpool’s six-game losing run at Anfield and allowed Klopp’s side to claim some level of revenge on a Villa side that beat the Reds 7-2 in one of the Premier League’s biggest shocks of all-time earlier this season.

Liverpool are now firmly in the hunt for a top four finish in the Premier League on a day when they came from behind to end their Anfield misery, with Klopp quick to salute his match winner.

“We can stop that chat about Trent, everyone agrees that he is an outstanding player,” declared Klopp, with England boss Gareth Southgate present to watch the match-winning moment.

“It’s Gareth Southgate’s decision what he does for the squad but we don’t have to talk about it every week. We don’t have to justify the players’ status every week.”

Liverpool’s James Milner also poured praise on Alexander-Arnold, as he suggested the 22-year-old had given the perfect response to his critics.

“It says a lot about his character,” declared Milner. “People forget how young is he. He’s been very fortunate in his career so far, so being left out of the England squad is probably one of his first disappointments.

“But he’s got a massive goal at the end, it was a great position he took up in midfield just just before. We’re delighted for him.”

Klopp’s side registered their first home league win in four months as they recovered from going behind to Ollie Watkins’ opener with Mohamed Salah scoring his 19th league goal of the season – the first from open play at Anfield in 2021 after a drought of almost 13 hours.

Alexander-Arnold’s clincher was the moment Liverpool have been waiting for and Klopp saluted the battling performance of his players.

“We dominated the game but we made one mistake and concede a goal,” reflected Klopp.

“Then we score the equaliser but it’s ruled out for offside. At half-time it wasn’t the best mood, you can imagine but the words were OK.

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“I didn’t have to lift them too much, they knew if we continue to play like we did we would create chances again. We dealt with their game really good. It was massive, it felt massive to win. A real relief.

“We were there, we defended well, we were constantly in the creating mood without having 20 clear-cut chances. We needed that win today, these three points feel big.

“We have to put the other teams under pressure. Everyone knows that when we get on a run we are dangerous.”

Liverpool had not lost a home match in the 10 played on the same day as the Grand National since 1953 but it appeared this one was going the same way as the previous half-dozen after squandering a number of chances and then falling behind.

Seven of the team started in October’s 7-2 defeat at Villa Park which hinted that maybe all was not well with the defending champions even at that early stage.

Watkins, who scored a hat-trick back in October, benefited from errors from both Ozan Kabak and Alisson Becker to open the scoring after 43 minutes.

Roberto Firmino thought he had ended his barren spell with a close-range equaliser but after a long review, VAR ruled Diogo Jota had been fractionally offside from Alexander-Arnold’s long crossfield ball.

Diogo Jota had already flashed a shot wide from a narrow angle before Andy Robertson overlapped on the left to unleash a drive which Martinez could only parry into the path of Salah who headed home after 57 minutes.

Liverpool didn’t look like finding a late winner until Alexander-Arnold came up with his moment of magic to break Villa hearts, curling home a strike that could change the tone of his side’s season.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Xherdan Shaqiri after scoring their team's second goal.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Xherdan Shaqiri after scoring their team's second goal. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Xherdan Shaqiri after scoring their team's second goal. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“We deserved a point, we were better in the second half after not being great. But we lost the second half 2-0, football does that to you sometimes,” said Villa boss Dean Smith.

“We had a lapse in concentration, we had some good opportunities and didn’t have that final pass in the final third.

“We’ve come to Liverpool, knew how they would play and how determined they were to put things right at Anfield but it’s disappointing to concede so late.”

Liverpool still face a fight to steal a top four finish, but at least it feels like they are in the mix once again.

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