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Trent’s emergency service keeps Reds on track f
IT was a pity that Trent Alexander-Arnold could not celebrate his unbridled joy with the Kop.
Imagine the noise, if you can. Local lad, suffering inconsistent form – cold-shouldered by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate – drilling home an injury-time winner to bring his club their first home Premier League win since mid-December.
Six straight defeats, eight matches in total without a victory – and the right-back uses that sweet right foot to find the bottom corner from the edge of the area in front of that famous end.
And the England boss was there to witness it, too.
Oh yes, if you’re a Red, it’s enough to send shivers down the spine.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp understood the narrative – but did not necessarily want to buy into it.
He said: “Trent is an outstanding player, he’s a wonderful player. We all agree about that and Gareth Southgate does, too.
“Gareth made a decision, I respect it, Trent respects it - there’s nothing to talk about. Gareth has to make tough decisions. I have to make tough decisions every day. And he has to make them, too.
“Trent played an exceptional game at Arsenal and a top one this afternoon – that’s how football is. He doesn’t need to prove himself at this level constantly.
“As a young player, he needs to develop. By the way, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. We just don’t have to talk about it every week. We don’t have to justify his status.”
Klopp (right) deserves a pat on the back, too. He gambled in the dying seconds, introducing
Xherdan Shaqiri from the bench and sacrificing Ozan Kabak. He was rewarded with Alexander-Arnold’s first goal in nine months.
The Reds chief added: “For us, the game was really good and it was the same old story. We played well, but made one mistake. It wasn’t the biggest, but it gave them the opportunity to take it – and they did. We decided a lon was going to be a bu us, but we went ag and again. We score goal. Forced it, if you header.
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ase the risk and on-wise, it was s.” rnold’s late, late ad looked like one of those oons that has me a feature tly at Anfield. e Watkins – nnounced he is o be a dad this week – is enjoying the time of his life. A call-up by Southgate, a goal on his international debut and now one in front of the Kop.
It came about after Douglas Luiz picked up possession, switched a pass to John McGinn, who, in turn, found Watkins who finished.
Villa enjoyed a let-off on the stroke of half-time when VAR ruled in their favour over a wafer-thin offside decision that saw a strike from Roberto Firmino wiped out.
After the interval, Liverpool huffed and puffed, but Bertrand Traore failed to track Andy Robertson and the Scot stung the fingers of Emiliano Martinez with a drive – only for Mo Salah to grab his 19th of the season by nodding home the rebound.
Trezeguet hit an upright before leaving the field in tears after an injury – Villa chief Dean Smith did not elaborate afterwards.
He said: “I thought we were lucky still to be goalless after half an hour. We gave the ball away too often with sloppy passes. With one of our first good moves, we went one up.
“It was great to be in front at half-time, having not played well. I thought we did better in the second half. We hit the post.
“Overall, I’m disappointed. I thought we deserved a point.”