Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has called on his side to bounce back following their 4-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, admitting the trip to Anfield “could have become embarrassing”.
Goals from Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge saw Liverpool go in 2-1 ahead at the break after Bojan Krkic had previously restored parity with a 22nd-minute header, before substitute Divock Origi’s second-half brace sealed a comfortable win for the Reds.
The result sees Jurgen Klopp’s men leapfrog the Potters into eighth in the table, with Hughes left thoroughly disappointed by his side’s efforts, adding that the scoreline could have been heavier.
He told BBC Sport after the game: "Once goals go in, it becomes difficult. It could have become embarrassing for us. It was damage limitation in the end.
"I was reasonably happy with the first-half performance, even though we were behind. But we kept on letting ourselves down by not switching on when the ball went dead.
"It was a difficult day, where we didn't acquit ourselves well enough.”
The defeat represents a significant blow to Stoke’s already slim ambitions for Europa League qualification, causing the Welshman to demand a response from his players ahead of the visit of title-chasing Tottenham next Monday evening.
"Today's result has hurt us obviously. We allowed Liverpool to go above us and teams around us are picking up points. But when we have a setback, we almost always bounce back, and we need to do that.”
Stoke are currently six points behind fifth-placed Manchester United with another five games to play.