Stoke City boss Mark Hughes credited Liverpool for their display at the Britannia Stadium but has certainly not given up on a Capital One Cup final place.
Liverpool claimed the advantage in the semi-final with a 1-0 win on Tuesday night courtesy of Jordon Ibe’s first goal.
Stoke must now win at Anfield for the first time since 1959 to progress to the final, but Hughes certainly hasn’t written off the prospect.
“If we score first, then maybe there’s opportunities as a consequence that builds on the home side,” he told The Sentinel.
“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.”
Liverpool were without several players for the first leg and lost both Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren to injury in the first half, but Hughes acknowledged that Jurgen Klopp’s gameplan worked to good effect.
Stoke introduced Jon Walters at half-time, later bringing on Joselu and Peter Crouch too, and Hughes felt only a slice of luck was missing to prevent his side from capping an improved second-half display with an equalising goal.
He said: “First half, sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition because they did restrict space for ourselves and did that to good effect.
“We had to improve second half. 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 half).
“We needed an out ball and so we changed at the earliest opportunity after 45 minutes with Jon (Walters) up there and Bojan 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.”