Liverpool left it late to secure a first Premier League win at home in 2021, with Trent Alexander-Arnold's superb stoppage-time strike downing Aston Villa 2-1 at Anfield.

The Reds rallied from a goal down to secure three crucial points in terms of the top-four battle, while the result is also a timely boost with a Champions League second leg against Real Madrid coming up in midweek.

Ollie Watkins – who scored a hat-trick in a stunning 7-2 win for his side when Liverpool visited Villa Park early in the season - gave the visitors a half-time advantage on Merseyside, his left-footed shot squeezing underneath goalkeeper Alisson.

Roberto Firmino had a potential equaliser ruled out by the video assistant referee before the interval, but Mohamed Salah scored the Reds' first home goal from open play in the league in 765 minutes to level early in the second half.

Liverpool had a let-off when Trezeguet hit the post but, with England boss Gareth Southgate watching on, Alexander-Arnold collected a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and curled in a late winner.

Jurgen Klopp may have feared it to be a case of deja vu when Watkins' goal put Villa on course to complete the double over Liverpool for the first time since the inaugural Premier League campaign in 1992-93.

Salah had failed to punish a Tyrone Mings error when poking wide in the first half to extend the goal drought, yet he could hardly miss when Emiliano Martinez's save from an Andy Robertson shot broke kindly for the Egyptian, allowing him to head in his 19th goal in the competition to move level with Harry Kane in the Golden Boot race.

Still, it appeared enough for only a point for Liverpool - who had lost their previous six at home in the league - until Alexander-Arnold provided a dramatic conclusion as proceedings moved beyond the 90-minute mark.

While Martinez produced an outstanding save to keep out a volley from substitute Thiago Alcantara, Villa's keeper had no chance with the effort that followed from Liverpool's right-back.

What does it mean? Home comforts at last for Klopp

Liverpool's solitary triumph in a 'home' fixture since the turn of the year had actually come in Budapest, as they had to play both legs of their last-16 Champions League tie with RB Leipzig overseas.

A 3-0 win at Arsenal after the international break had suggested Klopp's squad were primed for a strong run-in, too. However, bad habits resurfaced in a 3-1 defeat to Madrid in Spain, leaving them facing a tall order to overturn the deficit in the return fixture and progress through to the last four in Europe.

The domestic route to the Champions League still remains open, though only after an all-too familiar story of wasteful finishing – Liverpool had 23 attempts against Villa – eventually had a happy ending.

Door closed with Southgate?

Left out by Southgate for England's World Cup qualifiers in March, Alexander-Arnold was at fault for one of Madrid goals on Tuesday. His winner against Villa will not silence the doubters over his defensive abilities, yet a first Premier League goal of the campaign offers a demonstration of what he can produce in attack.

Ollie wobbles Reds again

Alexander-Arnold was not the only England international to make an impact on proceedings. Watkins is the first to score home and away for Villa against Liverpool in the same season since Christian Benteke in 2012-13, while no player has put four past the Reds in a single campaign since Andrey Arshavin for Arsenal 12 years ago.

Key Opta facts

- Liverpool have won a Premier League game via a 90th-minute winning goal for the 37th occasion, 12 more than any other side. 
- Aston Villa have lost 22 Premier League games via match-winning goals scored in the 90th minute or later; only Spurs (23) have lost more in the competition's history. 
- Liverpool ended an eight-match winless run in the Premier League at Anfield (D2 L6), scoring as many goals vs Aston Villa as they did across the eight-match winless streak (2). 
- Salah has scored 28 goals in all competitions this season, his best return in a campaign for Liverpool since 2017-18 (44). 
- No player has scored more goals against reigning Premier League champions in a season than Watkins against Liverpool (4 - also Sergio Aguero v Chelsea in 15/16 and Harry Kane v Leicester in 16/17).

What's next?

Liverpool welcome Madrid on Wednesday, followed by a trip Leeds United next in the league. Villa, meanwhile, host champions-elect Manchester City, though that fixture is not until April 21.