Captain Jordan Henderson praises Liverpool's response to early Stoke goal in Tuesday's emphatic 4-1 win

Captain Jordan Henderson praises Liverpool's response to early Stoke goal in Tuesday's emphatic 4-1 win

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says that his side's response to Stoke City's direct style, and their early opening goal, was crucial as they came from behind to win 4-1 at Anfield.

Charlie Malam

Jordan Henderson believes Liverpool's response to the direct approach of Stoke City on Tuesday night was crucial to overturning their early deficit and returning to second in the Premier League.

The Reds trailed just 12 minutes in, Jonathan Walters heading in from Erik Pieters' near-sided cross after Jürgen Klopp's men had initially started well.

But they drew level on 34 minutes through Adam Lallana before Roberto Firmino sent Liverpool into the break ahead.

In a dominant second-half display, Giannelli Imbula's own goal from a Divock Origi cross increased the advantage before Daniel Sturridge scored less than a minute after coming on to complete the scoring and send his side back into second in the league table.

The Liverpool captain insists that, the manner in which they adapted to the long-ball style that the Potters opted for with 6ft 7ins former Red Peter Crouch up top ensured they swung the momentum of the game in their own favour.

We dominated and score good goals after shaky first 15, says Henderson

Henderson, speaking to the Sky Sports cameras afterwards, admitted Stoke "put us under pressure" which they "struggled to deal with", citing "the long ball and the flick on" as the Potters' key threats "in the first 10 to 15 minutes."

"They got the goal from it, but I think we adapted well towards the end of the first-half," admitted the England midfielder, who said he and his teammates "deal with it better" and "dealt with it well" after the break.

He accepted that their start "wasn't great" but felt that "after the goal" they "dominated again and scored some good goals" against a Stoke side he said are "a good team" with "some good players" who "can mix it up."

Henderson admitted Liverpool have "got to be prepared" to face sides as willing to go direct as they are to play football, but reiterated that the hosts "dealt with it well apart from the first 10-15 minutes."

The Reds' No.14 was asked whether the victory took on more importance after Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester CityManchester United and Everton all managed to win the day before.

But he responded: "Not really. It doesn't matter about everyone else. It just matters what we're doing. We are just focused on what we need to do."

Henderson insisted that every week is "a different challenge" in the Premier League and that Stoke were "a big test" that they "coped with well" as they extended their unbeaten run on home soil to 16 league games and 23 in all competitions.

"Every win is a good result. It doesn't matter who you play," continued the 26-year-old, who said he and his teammates must now "just focus on the next game" which he said is "another tough one" and "the next challenge" against Pep Guardiola's City on New Years' Eve.