A picture paints a thousand words and Steve Bruce's demeanour at yesterday's press conference was one of a man worn down by the club's eight-month battle with relegation
With the club's first FA Cup first quarter-final in 22 years on the horizon and the chance to reach a semi-final for the first time in 31 years, it was a chance for Bruce to cast off the travails of a testing campaign.
However, try as he might to be optimistic, his furrowed brow couldn't disguise the inner anguish he is enduring as this season unfolds.
There is no suggestion of Bruce throwing in the towel, far from it, but the prize which is dangling before him seems agonisingly out of reach.
Nevertheless, this was no time for talk of relegation and Bruce was swift to steer the conversation back towards the glimmer of hope amongst the doom and gloom permeating St Andrew's.
The champions of Europe, albeit only for another three months, are in town tonight and bringing with them an away following in excess of 4,000.
The Railway End will become a sea of red and the atmosphere is sure to be charged as Bruce's boys have become a bogey side to Liverpool.
They claimed the notable scalp of a double over Rafael Benitez's men last season and have earned two draws against them this season for good measure as well.
Throw in to the equation the four points they took from Liverpool in 2002-03 and they possess an excellent record a gainst the cash-rich Merseysiders.
However, the last time they locked horns with Liverpool in the FA Cup proved to be a chastening experience for Bruce as his side were ruthlessly ripped apart to the tune of 3-0 by a rampant Liverpool outfit.
That provided Bruce with the catalyst to revamp his faltering side and eventually galvanised their campaign into a promotion wining one.
Despite their injury problems, Emile Heskey (ankle) and Nicky Butt (hip) are the latest doubts; Bruce is convinced his side will offer more resilience on this occasion.
"We took 5,000 fans to Anfield and never laid a glove on them," lamented Bruce.
"But we have played well against them twice this season and can we put in a performance like those again?
"If we play like we did for the first hour against Tottenham then we have a chance.
"Let's have a crack at it, as no one gives us a chance. There always has been and there always be shocks in the FA Cup.
"It would be nice if we can pull it off in this round.
"It is a huge cup tie even though the FA have devalued the tournament a bit by not playing the quarter-finals on a weekend.
"I thought they could have found a suitable weekend in a season that is ten months old and the tournament has been rebuilding its reputation after a bit of a slump.
"It is still a fantastic tournament in my eyes and I would love to win a major trophy with this club."
With DJ Campbell cup-tied and Chris Sutton, Medhi Nafti, Mathew Upson, Julian Gray and Muzzy Izzet sidelined, Bruce faces an anxious wait on four other players.
Heskey and Butt will have fitness test this morning while Jiri Jarosik and David Dunn have a slim chance of making the starting line-up.
That could leave Bruce without as many as ten players and he read out his casualty bulletin through gritted teeth with an air of resignation.
But it is such a monotonous task that even the manager himself is growing bored by the whole episode.
"It is a cup tie and we have to get on with it. I am even turned off by myself constantly talking about injuries," added Bruce with black humour.
"If you are going to do this job then, unless you are extremely fortunate, you will get spells like this.
"But s*** happens. It is a fickle business and, am I as bad now, as I was good 12 months ago.
"I wish I had the full complement of players to choose from but I haven't so we will give it a right good crack against the European champions.
"They did the best they could against Tottenham and the attitude and commitment was excellent."
Bruce also backed Mario Melchiot to emerge from his difficult weekend when he was singled out by a section of supporters for rough treatment.
His error led to Tottenham's opening goal and Bruce admits it wasn't a pleasant experience.
"That's never what you want to hear," said Bruce. "Mario is a big player and he will have to stand up and be counted against Liverpool.
"The football pitch can be a lonely place and he bore the brunt of the fans frustration. No one intentionally makes mistakes."