Brendan Rodgers believes his Liverpool side face a stiff test of their credentials in the coming weeks.
The Reds turned in a disappointing performance as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Hull, drifting to fourth in the Barclays Premier League table and remaining seven points off pace-setters Arsenal.
They have six more matches in December, starting with Norwich on Wednesday, but will be without joint top-scorer Daniel Sturridge throughout.
The England striker faces six to eight weeks on the sidelines after spraining his ankle in training and Rodgers admitted that will pose a challenge of his squad’s depth.
“We have a very busy period coming up and we’ve got a squad that needs as many of its good players as possible so it’s not ideal,” said Rodgers after strikes from Jake Livermore and David Meyler, as well as a late own-goal from Martin Skrtel, rendered Steven Gerrard’s first-half free-kick irrelevant.
“This little period will test us now but players will come in and it’s a great opportunity to a stake a claim.
“Daniel is out for up to eight weeks which is a big blow for us and Phillipe (Coutinho) didn’t train all week. He had injections just to get on the bench.
“The quality of our squad isn’t big enough to cope with two big players like that missing. No doubt it was a disruption.
“It’s difficult if you take those two out, two players who have been very efficient for us this season.”
For Hull, victory over a Liverpool side once again harbouring realistic Champions League ambitions represented one of the best results in their history.
Boss Steve Bruce was rightly chipper in his assessment of the match, but was forced to confront the thorny issue of the club’s name in the aftermath.
Owner Assem Allam wants to rebrand the team as Hull Tigers – a proposal that has been met with fury by some quarters of the club’s support – and an inflammatory newspaper interview on Sunday morning threatened to increase tensions yet further.
Bruce has largely tried to steer clear of the subject for most of the season but now plans to intervene in an attempt to bridge the gap between Allam and the unhappy supporters.
“I think the chairman has put something like £70 million into this club, so without him there wouldn’t be a club or a ’Hull City’, it would be down the tubes,” he said.
“However, I’ve got to have a conversation with him. I don’t think he understands quite what it means to the history and the tradition.
“All he thinks about is going forward. He thinks the brand would be better and that’s his opinion.
“What we can’t let happen is for is to fester on. At times when things aren’t going so well it can create an atmosphere that no-one wants. We should be enjoying the Premier League rather than talking about a badge or a name change.
“They (the Allam family) don’t really want brownie points, I just don’t think they quite understand what it means to a lot of people.
“If we’re Hull City Tigers or Hull City, we’ve got to stay together.”