Dirk Kuyt has paid tribute to Maxi Rodriguez after the Argentine struck a treble to end Liverpool's Birmingham City hoodoo and reignite their quest for a place in Europe next season.

The former Atletico Madrid star plundered three of the Reds' five goals to secure a first league success over the Blues since May 2004.

Kuyt admitted he was surprised that it had been so long since Liverpool last triumphed against Alex McLeish's side but was quick to praise the man of the moment for his role in the victory.

"I thought Maxi was unbelievable," Kuyt told Liverpoolfc.tv.

"It must be difficult for him not to be involved in every game at the moment. But then, when the manager gave him his chance, he didn't just score one goal - he got three.

"They were great goals too and everyone is really happy for him."

Kuyt continued: "We played a terrific game. Straight from the start we were on top of them.

"It has been a bit of a while since we last beat them. I was actually reading about that in the programme before the game, so it was good to defeat them and put that behind us.

"But more importantly we played well and kept going right until the end."

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Our No.18 continued his rich vein of form with the Reds' second goal against the Blues, taking his tally to seven in his last six league matches.

And he revealed he had already spoken to Maxi about the similarities with his own treble against Manchester United.

Kuyt said: "We weren't discussing which one was better but we were trying to count how many yards it was in total for each hat-trick - I think it will be a close thing!

"I'm feeling good at the moment and have taken a lot of confidence from the manager. It's not just me, it's the whole team. We are playing well and enjoying our football.

"Speaking for myself, I am really happy. I played up front with Luis (Suarez) and it went well again. I was really happy to score another goal."

Kuyt also had words of praise for teenage full-backs John Flanagan and Jack Robinson on an afternoon that saw the latter make his full Liverpool bow.

"It's great to see the local lads involved but it's also nice to see them playing so well," he said.

"Everyone saw each of them play their first game. Sometimes those are easier because after that people expect things from them. But I thought they both produced terrific performances.

"It's almost a shame for Jay Spearing because nobody is talking about him as much. He's also doing very well. He hadn't played too many games himself but he is starting to play matches in a row now and is doing great."

The 5-0 victory over Birmingham coupled with Tottenham's draw with West Brom moved Liverpool to within three points of a European berth - albeit having played a game more than the Londoners.

Kuyt insisted the Reds must continue to take it one game.

He added: "The most important thing for us is to focus on our own game. We played terrific today and we must now make sure we do the same next week against Newcastle.

"We want to win every game between now and the end of the season - then we can see what happens. But I think our chances are getting bigger and bigger."

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