Klopp joy as Liverpool stage dramatic late show

Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Jurgen Klopp called it the "best possible feeling" as Liverpool scored twice in the final minutes to secure a thrilling 2-1 win at Aston Villa and maintain their six-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League on Saturday.

Klopp's side had trailed for more than an hour to a goal from Trezeguet and a combination of VAR, poor finishing and heroic defending looked set to end their unbeaten start to the league season.

But first Andy Robertson popped up with an equaliser when he headed in Sadio Mane's cross with four minutes left.

Then not content with that and deep into stoppage-time, Senegal winger Mane arrowed a header into the far corner from Trent Alexander-Arnold's corner to spark delirium on the pitch, the touchline and amongst the away supporters.

It was the third successive league game in which Liverpool have come from behind after drawing at Manchester United and beating Tottenham at home, but Klopp never doubted his relentless players could do it again.

"It is the best possible feeling. It really is very satisfying, and the winner was from a corner kick routine that we have tried a few times," Klopp said.

"I don't have time to think about whether we were going to lose. You just have to try and score.

"It was not because we have had a couple of comebacks in other games, you just have to keep on trying because we could have had another one today.

"At times, we were too playful, it was a bit like kids' football. There was good football but you have to finish it off. It looked good but I didn't like it."

- Klopp's armpit angst -

Villa started with real energy as Anwar El Ghazi tested Alisson before striker Wesley glanced a header away from team-mate Bjorn Engels.

And they stunned the European Champions when they went in front thanks to a first goal in English football from Trezeguet.

The Egyptian volleyed in from John McGinn's free-kick, as the defenders waited in vain for an offside call, which did not come from either the assistant referee or the video referee through VAR.

Roberto Firmino then had the ball in the net from Mane's low cross at the other end only to see the flag up straight away.

It went to VAR where Firmino was adjudged to be offside by the narrowest possible margin, with his armpit being the wrong side of the invisible line, to which Klopp was bemused when questioned after the match.

"It's not right that we sit here and talk about it and laugh about it. Managers get sacked over it," Klopp said.

"My analysts showed me the footage after the game and I didn't see it as offside. We just have to make sure the new system helps the game."

To complete a hat-trick of VAR calls in Villa's favour, replays backed up the decision by referee Jon Moss that Mane had dived under pressure from Frederic Guilbert to try and win a penalty for which the Senegalese was booked.

After the interval, there was real urgency from Liverpool as they pressed for an equaliser and their best opportunity came when Mane arrived at the back post to meet another inviting ball from Alexander-Arnold but rather than finding the net, his header came off Heaton's chest.

Mane had the last laugh, leaving Villa manager Dean Smith crestfallen.

"I'm proud of them but I also feel hurt," he said. "We went toe-to toe with them and I am pleased with the display.

"We were very concentrated until the equaliser. There were possibly 100 crosses into the box and the one time Robertson gets in front of El Ghazi, they score."