Stoke City manager Mark Hughes insists his side are still capable of overcoming Liverpool in the League Cup despite suffering a 1-0 home loss in the semi-final first leg.
First-half substitute Jordan Ibe scored the only goal of the game, smashing home a strike from inside the box eight minutes before the break following an assist from Joe Allen.
Liverpool hold the advantage going into the return leg at Anfield, but Hughes is adamant his side are not out of the competition just yet.
“If we score first, then maybe there’s opportunities as a consequence that builds on the home side,” he said.
“We are not absolutely deflated by the performance or the result because the key is that we are still in the tie. It’s only half-time as they say.”
The away side were the better of the two in the first period, but Hughes was happy with the way Stoke responded for the second 45.
“We had to improve second half,” he continued. “They had the benefit of the goal and as a consequence of that they could maybe drop off and protect the likes of Lucas playing out of position [at centre-back].
“We needed an out ball and so we changed at the earliest opportunity after 45 minutes with Jon [Walters] up there and Bojan [Krkic] in behind.
“We went a lot more direct second half and you need something to fall for you and we didn’t get that.
“It was a case of trying to make things happen, but you need the ball to run for you. They are all ifs, buts and maybes for us.
“But we are very much in the tie and have an opportunity to go again at the end of the month.
“When we didn’t get that break it was key we didn’t concede a second. If we had, it would have been a huge task to try and claw it back.”
Stoke head to Merseyside on January 26 aiming to reach the League Cup final for the first time since 1972.
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