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Monday 18 December 2017

Hughes aims to pile more misery on Liverpool

Hughes
Hughes

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has every intention of adding to under-fire Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers' misery.

A run of four straight defeats this month - including three in the Premier League - was finally ended with Wednesday's 2-2 draw in the Champions League at Bulgarian side Ludogorets.

Next up for Rodgers and the Reds today is what appears to be a tough Anfield clash with a Stoke side that has already won away at Manchester City and Tottenham this season.

Hughes feels some of the criticism heaped on Rodgers has been unfair given he has been without two players this season who scored 55 goals between them for Liverpool last term.

With Luis Suarez sold to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge out for the last three months and not expected to return until the new year due to a thigh injury, it is no wonder Rodgers is feeling the heat.

"When people sense there is a little bit of pressure building then everybody jumps on the bandwagon and tries to add to it, which is unfair," Hughes said.

"But that happens to all of us. It's not something Brendan is unaware of. He understands how it works.

"But when you lose the services of two strikers such as Suarez and Sturridge, then it's going to impact on you.

"There were only three players in the Premier League last season who scored more than 20 goals, and Liverpool had two of them. So that shows where their season was built - on the back of two outstanding strikers. They haven't had their services this year so it's going to take a big part of their game away from them."

Naturally, for Hughes it is something to exploit, even if it means piling the pressure on Rodgers.

"They've a big squad that can manage any number of games they have ahead of them," the Welshman added. "I saw a picture in the paper the other day that showed the strength of their bench, worth something like £100million, so they do have resources they can use.

"The focus that seems to be on them at the moment is maybe something they need to deal with, and if we can add to that, then we will try to do that.

"But they're an outstanding team, with great players, and although it's a tough test for us we've proven this year we can go anywhere and get positive results, so that's our intention."

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