STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Geoff Cameron of Stoke City holds off Christian Benteke of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at Brittania Stadium on August 9, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

League Cup semifinal preview: Stoke City vs. Liverpool

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The best part about the League Cup is that no matter how early you enter the tournament, you’re never more than 720 (regulation) minutes from lifting a trophy at Wembley Stadium.

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When Stoke City and Liverpool take the field at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday, that number will have been whittled all the way down to 270, with a special day out in the capital city just 180 minutes away (League Cup semifinals are contested over two legs). Manchester City and Everton will face one another in the second semifinal, beginning on Wednesday.

Liverpool hoped to have striker Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) back in time for Tuesday’s clash, but manager Jurgen Klopp announced on Monday that the 26-year-old has suffered another setback in his bid to return from injury, despite proclaiming himself “good to go” barely a week ago.

Meanwhile, Stoke manager Mark Hughes is feeling quite confident given his side’s recent run of results (six wins in their last 10 games – all competitions), coupled with Liverpool’s struggles (two wins in their last seven). Said Hughes: “We are very strong at the moment at home and playing exceptionally well there. We are giving good teams like Liverpool real problems. Teams have to be at their best to withstand us at home. It is a game of significance for us, and these are the games we want to be involved in. Hopefully it is the first of many.”

Stoke defender Geoff Cameron will be available for Tuesday’s first leg after the club successfully appealed the red card levied against the U.S. national teamer on the weekend.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Saturday ]

Injuries/suspensions: Stoke — QUESTIONABLE: Stephen Ireland (hamstring), Peter Crouch (hamstring) | Liverpool — OUT: Daniel Sturridge (hamstring), Martin Skrtel (hamstring), Danny Ings (knee), Joe Gomez (knee), Jon Flanagan (knee); QUESTIONABLE: James Milner (calf), Divock Origi (hamstring)

Path to semifinals: Stoke — Luton Town 1-1 (7-8 PKs) Stoke; Fulham 0-1 Stoke; Stoke 1-1 (5-4 PKs) Chelsea; Stoke 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday | Liverpool — Liverpool 1-1 (3-2 PKs) Carlisle United); Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth; Southampton 1-6 Liverpool;

League meeting this season: Stoke 0-1 Liverpool (Aug. 9)

League Cups won: Stoke (1) — 1971-72 | Liverpool (8) — 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1994–95, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2011–12

EURO 2016: Wilmots expects better from Belgium in last 16 vs. Hungary

LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 13: Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium shows his frustration after the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Belgium and Italy at Stade des Lumieres on June 13, 2016 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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TOULOUSE, France (AP) Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has told his players to step up a level when they take on Hungary in the last 16 of the European Championship on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO 2016 coverage ]

Hungary has been one of the surprise packages of the tournament, while Belgium had mixed results in Group E — losing 2-0 to Italy, beating Ireland 3-0 and scraping a 1-0 win over Sweden in its final match.

“We don’t have the right to make any mistakes,” Wilmots said Saturday. “We talked together and I’m waiting for a better performance individually from my players. We have shown some kind of progress to some extent, but we can circulate the ball better and play a linked-up football.”

Belgium, ranked second in the world, was one of the pre-tournament favorites. But so far, it has been more entertaining than convincing.

[ MORE: Predicting the knockout rounds of EURO 2016 ]

“You enjoy watching our matches, because there’s a team who gives everything, goes on the attack, creates six or seven chances, and that’s what we’re always going to do,” Wilmots said. “Apart from that, you can always do better. But we need to be realistic, what counts, is to pass the round.”

One of the main criticisms of Belgium is that its much-vaunted attack has failed to light up the tournament.

A lot was expected from Manchester City’s attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, but he has failed to get into his stride, apart from a few flashes of his true ability in the match against Ireland.

[ MORE: What does UK’s exit from EU mean for the Premier League? ]

“He can play better,” Wilmots said. “He could be a key player, that’s clear. Kevin put in an average performance against Italy, he was very average. Then he started to grow in the tournament.

“I see again a player who asks for the ball, who creates things, he is still not perfect in the last pass but he will develop. I see a Kevin who is smiling again, who is enjoying his football … everyone is a human being.”

FOLLOW LIVE: Shooting stars square off as Portugal meets Croatia

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 30:  Cristiano Ronaldo (L) of Real Madrid CF celebrates with Luks Modric after scoring Real's 6th goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on October 30, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
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The finale of Saturday’s three EURO 2016 knockout games features one of the sport’s biggest stars.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal will face off against Croatia, a team not without its share of world class talent.


That includes Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammate, Luka Modric, as well as Inter Milan midfielder Ivan Perisic and Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic.

The winner moves on to play Poland, which needed penalty kicks to beat Switzerland earlier in the day.

Swansea City’s Ashley Williams injured for Wales at EURO 2016

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25:  Jonathan Williams and Ashley Williams of Wales lie on the pitch after their collision during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Wales’ victory over Northern Ireland at EURO 2016’s Round of 16 came at a cost, for both club and country.

Center back and captain Ashley Williams injured his shoulder and could barely move his arm in the 1-0 victory.

[ MORE: Match recapPoland eliminates Swiss ]

Williams finished the final few minutes of the match, but is a question for the quarterfinal match against either Belgium or Hungary.

That would obviously be a major blow for Wales, and a serious injury could affect preparation for the new Premier League campaign.

Own goal pushes Wales past Northern Ireland, into EURO quarterfinal

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Gareth McAuley (front) of Northern Ireland scores an own goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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A Gareth McAuley own goal lifted Wales into the quarterfinals of EURO 2016 in a 1-0 decision over Northern Ireland on Saturday in Paris.

The game wasn’t too lively, but supporters for both sides nearly made up for it.

The lone goal came when Gareth Bale‘s pass across the edge the six was headed for Hal Robson-Kanu. McAuley had to intervene and unfortunately for Norn Iron, that intervention went into the back of the net.

[ EURO: Poland eliminates Swiss in PKs ]

Stuart Dallas forced a save out of Wayne Hennessey in the 10th minute, earning a corner that Hennessey collected.

Sam Vokes won a header that Aaron Ramsey finished, but Ramsey was offside.

The game didn’t entertain much in the first 45, and the tight marking, tactical fouling continued in the second 45 until the breakthrough.

Ashley Williams of Swansea City was injured in a collision with a teammate, and could hardly move his shoulder.