Martin O'Neill retains total faith in struggling striker Milan Baros coming through his loss of form and being a big player again for Aston Villa.
Baros has spluttered and misfired like an old banger since returning to the Villa team for the first time under O'Neill a month ago.
In four successive starts this season, the Czech striker has not scored, nor even looked like scoring - and has been substituted at half-time in Villa's last two Premiership outings.
At a time when Villa's results are suddenly not looking so rosy (only three points out of 12), Baros's faltering return has failed to fill the gap left by the long-term loss of Luke Moore, while O'Neill has key midfield cog Gavin McCann injured.
But his worrying failure to get anything out of Baros - six months on from his last two goals and last decent game in the derby win over Birmingham City - is arguably O'Neill's biggest worry.
Saturday's half-time exit on his old stomping ground at Anfield must have been a particularly embarrassing experience for the #6.5 million striker - he suffered the same fate on his previous visit there under David O'Leary late last season. Although O’Neill can throw in Chris Sutton for his first start on Sunday (the visit of Sutton's former club, Blackburn Rovers, makes it a temptation) the manager is prepared to show patience with Baros.
The Villa boss is still prepared to believe that ring-rustiness from his summer World Cup injury is the reason why Baros is failing to fire on all cylinders so spectacularly.
O’Neill said: "Some players can get fit pretty quickly and feel as if they have never been away. Milan is just past his 25th birthday and it is a bit strange that one so young is taking time to get over it.
"Whether it was the injury or the rehabilitation, I just don't know – whether it might have been a thought that there were teams who came in for him durting the summer and he thought: 'I'm going'."
The expected move with which Baros was linked all summer never came to fulfilment after he suffered another injury during World Cup duty with the Czech Republic.
He has expressed the body language of an unhappy player who wants to be on his way but O'Neill remains confident that his predecessor's most expensive signing has enough professional pride in his performance to improve in the two months before the transfer window re-opens - when a more long-term decision can be made as to whether he fits into the Villa set-up.
O’Neill said: "There is no doubt that, if you can get the best out of him, then he should be a big asset to us. He has won a European Cup medal with Liverpool less than two years ago."
Although aware that O'Leary was suffering similar frustrations at this stage last season, when Baros blatantly put his country's interests before his club, O'Neill can only hope that Jim Hendry, the new fitness coach from Celtic, might help kickstart Baros into action.
"We have a new fitness scheme in place but eventually, no matter how much you do, it is down to the player," said O'Neill.
"You can encourage and you can cajole them but he has cost the club a sizeable amount of money, has come with a biggish reputation and scored goals in international football. Eventually, you are going to have to perform and do it on the pitch.
"He might consider that it should be easier to go and adjust but football isn't like that. It is not that difficult if you have loads of ability and eventually you are fit and fresh and raring to go and have confidence, but his confidence wouldn't be as great as he would want it to be."