Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson insisted his side were not back to square one after their six-match unbeaten run came to an end.
Confidence was growing within the squad after four victories and two draws but it started to ebb away at Wigan in midweek when they were lucky to escape at 1-1.
And by the end of Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Stoke it appeared all the team's hard work in dragging themselves out of the relegation zone after a difficult start to the season had been undone.
However, Hodgson preferred to look on the performance at the Britannia Stadium as a blip and claimed his side were still heading in the right direction.
"I don't see why it should give us enormous reason to doubt what we are doing or doubt what we are capable of doing," he said.
"I don't expect this result to dent confidence any more than any bad result does or any end to a good run dents your confidence.
"We are talking about two or three games in a season. I find it hard to have to explain that every time you win a game things are flying forward and when you get a bad result they are flying backwards.
"I'm a 38-to-55-game-a-season man and I make my judgment over that period.
"I don't get euphoric when we play well against Chelsea and I certainly won't become anything other than realistic and determined to move on to the next step when we lose a game.
"The conclusions that are being attempted to be drawn are too big conclusions.
"We're realistic. We know we've still got some work to do, get some players back to fitness and work at our game.
"All you can do is work but unfortunately we won't have a lot of chance to work as some players are going away with their national team.
"The longer we work together the more the players become attuned to what we want from them.
"I don't think I need to fear one setback in six is going to throw us back into a bad situation."
Having performed so well in the first half against Chelsea a week ago, racing into a 2-0 lead, Liverpool appear to have gone backwards since re-emerging from the tunnel at Anfield that afternoon.
Carlo Ancelotti's side, as could be reasonably expected, dominated the remaining 45 minutes but after taking the lead against Wigan the Reds found themselves in a similar position and against Stoke they never at any point gained control of the game.
Having held out until the 56th minute they finally conceded when Rory Delap's throw caused just enough chaos in the penalty area for Ricardo Fuller to stab home from close range.
With the visitors pushing for an equaliser Kenwyne Jones made sure of the points in the final minute having been put through by former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant.
Lucas Leiva's red card for a second bookable offence after that just compounded their misery.
Statistics from the game showed Stoke had twice as much possession as their opponents and Hodgson admitted they struggled to get to grips with the pace of the game.
"I was disappointed with the lack of creativity for large periods but to do that we needed a bit more from our front players," he added.
"Most of the time the creativity comes on those occasions you get the ball down and play some football but for a lot of time it was in the air or being kicked out and then you have to deal with the re-start which ensues.
"We have had some good performances, it is the first game we have lost in six so I think that is pretty consistent."
By contrast, everything Liverpool did poorly, Stoke did well and manager Tony Pulis was delighted.
"I think we have created more opportunities and chances this year in every game we have played," he said.
"We've scored five goals in two home games and long may that continue. Fuller and Jones were a handful.
"The great thing about yesterday was were pretty expansive and created lot of chances but we kept a clean sheet."
However, despite moving up to 10th, a place above Liverpool on goal difference, he refused to read too much into the result.
"You get highs and lows. Everyone gets carried away with poor results and good results but as manager of this club you have to stay as level-headed as you can," he added.