Hodgson bemoans start of season hangover

Liverpool's manager Roy Hodgson smiles before their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER HEADSHOT) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson had admitted his side are still suffering a hangover from their torrid early season form, despite a run of four straight wins recently.

The Reds had looked to have revitalised their season with victories over Blackburn, Bolton, Napoli and Chelsea – but were given a wake-up call by Wigan at the DW Stadium on Wednesday night in a 1-1 draw.

Ahead of Saturday evening’s Premier League clash away to Stoke City, Hodgson says the players must stay focussed to continue turning their season around.

“I am hoping the players will be fresh again at Stoke. I know it’s the same for everybody but we had such a bad start to the season and we are still suffering the hangover effect from that.

“We have done extremely well in the Europa League so far and we have now gone on a six-game unbeaten run. That’s good but we’ve still got an awful lot of work to do.

“Away matches in this league are all very tough and we will have to work very hard to get a good result.

“We will try to deal with the problems Stoke cause us as well as causing them a lot of problems ourselves.

“I know how Stoke play and I’m hoping we can go there and put on a good performance.

“They will be buoyed by their win over Birmingham City on Tuesday, but we have got to make certain we get ourselves back on track and we start producing the performances we showed against Chelsea, Blackburn, Bolton and Napoli and less of the display we had against Wigan.”

Stoke vs Liverpool kicks off at 5.30pm tomorrow.