Ewood Park

Next Game

Blackburn v Stoke City

Sunday, 03 August 2014, 15:00

Friendly Match

Last Game

1860 Munich 2 - 0 Stoke City

Saturday, 26 July 2014, 16:00

Friendly Match

Hughes: Liverpool game tough

Mark Hughes insists he is unsurprised at Liverpool's progress this season, claiming their quality was evident when they beat Stoke in the opening game of the season.

Last Updated: 12/01/14 at 15:28 Post Comment

Simon Mignolet: His penalty save denied Stoke a point on the opening day of the

Simon Mignolet: His penalty save denied Stoke a point on the opening day of the

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved a late Jonathan Walters penalty to deny Stoke what would have been a very creditable draw at Anfield in August.

But Hughes revealed that everyone at the club could see even at that early stage that Liverpool could potentially be a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League this year.

"My memory of the Liverpool game is that we acquitted ourselves really well and made a good impression, but it's fair to say at the time we recognised Liverpool were going to have a really good season," he said.

"We were very much in that game and had an opportunity to take something out of the game, but unfortunately Jon missed the penalty. We discussed it immediately after the game and everyone - players and staff - thought Liverpool looked in really good nick.

"They were always likely to have a good season by virtue of their movement and their technical ability.

"So the progress they have made really hasn't surprised anybody here because we saw the evidence in the first game of the season."

Steven Gerrard is likely to make a return to Liverpool's Premier League starting line-up after making an earlier-than-expected return from a hamstring injury against Oldham in the FA Cup last weekend.

Daniel Sturridge could also return after being sidelined by an ankle injury, and Hughes says his Stoke side are relishing the prospect of trying to stifle the attacking threat posed by the trio.

"If you add those two players to the quality Liverpool have in Suarez and they're outstanding," said Hughes.

"Suarez is playing on a different level to most strikers in the Premier League - I noted he has won player of the month and that doesn't surprise anybody given the quality of his performances.

"But when you add another two players of the calibre of Sturridge and Gerrard, it's a a heady mix; you know you're up against a quality side.

"But we've shown we have the capability of matching the top teams in the league, which Liverpool undoubtedly are this year.

"We've beaten Chelsea and had good draws versus Manchester City and Everton.

"We're not fazed going up against the top sides in the division, we're in good form ourselves and we look forward to it."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

Footer 365

Liverpool beat Manchester City after a Yankee Stadium penalty shoot-out

Liverpool beat Premier League rivals Manchester City in a pre-season friendly at Yankee Stadium.

Brendan Rodgers positive after Liverpool beat Manchester City in New York

Brendan Rodgers was in a positive spirits after watching Liverpool beat Manchester City on penalties in New York.

Diego Costa gets two assists Chelsea's 3-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem

Diego Costa grabbed two assists as Chelsea beat Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 on Wednesday

Mail Box

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

Mails Come From A Land Down Under

We have an example of league-owned clubs from Australia while Kiwi boys want more respect for refs. Plus, Van Gaal won't stick with 3-5-2 and worried if Koeman will cut it...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property