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Stoke went direct in a bid to expose weakened Liverpool defence - Hughes

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes revealed the reasons his side adopted a more direct approach in an attempt to expose the weakened Liverpool backline.

Stoke suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to the Reds at the Britannia Stadium in the first leg of the Capital One semi-final on Tuesday night.

Usually a free-flowing side under Hughes, Stoke went direct late in the contest by bringing on Jon Walters and Peter Crouch as Jurgen Klopp's side had a struggling Kolo Toure and midfielder Lucas Leiva in central defence.

Hughes said: "We recognised they had players out of position at the back and we made a change ourselves and went more direct in the second half.

"When you do that you need something to fall for you and tonight we didn't get that.

"We dominated the second half in terms of possession but on the night we weren't able to get that break. The key from our point of view is that we didn't concede again and the danger was that if we over committed and conceded another one that would have been a huge task to go to Anfield and claw it back.

"As it is, it's just one goal and we're very much in this tie."

Stoke head to Anfield for the second leg of the League Cup final four on January 26.

Sarad Bade Shrestha
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Sarad Shrestha

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