By 90Min
December 01, 2017

When Mohamed Salah slotted home Liverpool's third goal at the bet365 stadium, the Stoke faithful had lost the faith. A mass exodus ensued with fans yet again leaving disappointed with their team's performance, leaving the Potters in 16th, just three points above the relegation zone. 

The home side were slightly unlucky during the game, as Liverpool 'keeper Simon Mignolet should've been sent off for hacking down Mame Biram Diouf, a decision that would've almost certainly swung the game in the Potters' favour. 

Stu Forster/GettyImages

But as the game progressed, the Reds continued their domination and left Mark Hughes' side ruing their missed chances. The Reds have won on their last four visits to the bet365 stadium, but it's not just Liverpool who are finding the trip to Staffordshire easier than in recent years. 

The Potters have won just two of seven home games so far this season, with away sides playing more open and expansive football when visiting. The bet365 used to be a ground feared for being a tough physical battle, but this season the Potters have failed to put up a fight and have looked weak in the games they host. 

Hughes has come under a considerable amount of pressure and the defeat of Liverpool may have just put yet another nail in the coffin. Hughes' side face a good run of fixtures in December that could possibly define their season, with the likes of Swansea, West Ham and West Brom coming up. 

But where has it gone wrong? Well the Potters have failed to capitalise on big chances up front, and they have been incredibly poor at the back. Hughes' side have conceded the second most amount of goals this season so far (29), with only West Ham letting in more (30). 

The loan signing of Kurt Zouma provided excitement for fans during the transfer window, but his presence at the back doesn't appear to have made a great impact. Lining up alongside Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi, on paper Stoke should be a solid outfit, but they are imbalanced from defence to attack. 

Going forward, new signing Maxim Choupo-Moting has shown flashes of his ability but he lacks the support around him to perform consistently. 

Hughes is relying heavily on 36-year-old Peter Crouch, who deservedly was given a new one-year contract for his performances in the early stages of the season, but isn't the type of player that will score enough goals to keep his side in the league. 

Hughes faces a tough task to turn his side's season around, but the first thing they need to do is to work out how to make the bet365 stadium a fortress again. Over the past four seasons they have averaged nine home wins, an achievement that steered them clear from relegation fights and helped them compete against the big guns in the league. If Hughes can't pick up his side's home form quickly, he could be the next manager to face the sack. 

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