Kenny Dalglish today explained why he is tipping Sebastian Coates to have a bright future at Liverpool following the defender's composed display against Stoke City last weekend.
The 21-year-old was drafted into the line-up to make his first Barclays Premier League start for the Reds in the goalless draw with the Potters on Saturday.
Coates impressed as part of a five-man Liverpool rearguard - and Dalglish is pleased with the progress the centre-back has made since arriving at Anfield from Nacional in August.
The boss said: "We've been delighted with Seb since he came in. It was a difficult time, he was only young coming in from Uruguay where it's a different culture, but it's really helped him that Luis (Suarez) and wee Maxi are here to settle him down.
"He's settled down well and we've been very pleased with him.
"We have to be patient - we have to be patient with anybody that's come in this year. There are about seven lads who came in at the start of the season and we have to be patient with them.
"They've certainly made progress, and they'll continue to make progress the longer they're here."
Dalglish continued: "I thought he did well against Stoke. He played against them in the League Cup down at Stoke and he did well there too.
"He can play in either a four or five (at the back), so that's beneficial to us. Once he gets a bit more settled in here, you'll see him doing what he did in the first half (against Stoke) and bringing the ball out and running at people. He's got that in his locker as well.
"We'll be patient and I'm sure he's patient as well."
Coates joined Liverpool on the back of an impressive Copa America, in which he was named as the Young Player of the Tournament as Uruguay claimed the title.
But Dalglish admits it wasn't just his footballing ability that persuaded the Reds to make their move.
"He would not be here if he wasn't grounded," said the Scot. "It wasn't as though we plucked him out of thin air and never did any homework on him.
"He was Young Player of the Tournament at the Copa America and they (Uruguay) won it, so I think that speaks for his footballing credentials. As a person, we wanted to make sure he was good - and he is good.
"We're delighted with the progress he's made. He's a valued member of the squad and we're fortunate to have him in it and able to pick."
Coates was joined in a three-man central defence by Jamie Carragher, who made his first Premier League start since October.
The Liverpool vice-captain afterwards spoke of his determination to fight for a regular first-team place once again, and insisted he was fully focused on continuing to play for as long as he could.
Dalglish admits he would not have expected anything less from Carragher and stressed the 33-year-old has a big role to play in the club's future.
"Carra has not said anything you would not have expected him to say," he said. "I spoke about Carra last week in the same breath as Steven (Gerrard) when his new contract was announced.
"He's been an integral part of this football club since about 12 or 13 years of age, and he will be for as long as he wants to be.
"The reaction and his quotes are vital. The fact he is here is vital. But more importantly the fact he can play is vital."
Another impressive performer against Stoke was Glen Johnson, and Dalglish added: "Glen has had a fantastic season for us and has probably been one of our most consistent players.
"He is a good footballer, enjoys going forward and also has defended very well for us this year. We've been delighted with what he's done for us this season."
Following the goalless stalemate with the Potters, Dalglish had conceded his side had not performed to their best.
However, while the manager accepts there are areas of the display Liverpool can learn from, he is keen to stress everybody at Melwood has kept the game in perspective.
"It was the same as every other game - you take certain aspects from it," said Dalglish. "The bad ones are the ones you try and improve on, and the others you try and develop. It's the same as what we do after every game.
"As long we've got it in perspective then we're okay and we know what we have to do to improve."
Reporters at Melwood quizzed Dalglish on whether he felt the Reds' performance against Stoke was a result of the hectic festive and New Year schedule.
He replied: "I don't think so because we freshened it up as best we could for most of the games.
"Some of the lads that played against Stoke had also played on the Friday night against Oldham the week before. So they got a run out there, got a little bit up to match speed and then played against Stoke.
"We did not pass it as well as we're capable of. Sometimes that happens. It's not a huge problem, but obviously one we want to solve - and the only way we're going to do that is out on the pitch and get our hard work done there.
"If you see the players every day, the quality of the passing and movement is brilliant - they've just got to take it into a match. We know what's there, we know what's in their locker - we just need to find the key to get it out of them."
Bolton present Liverpool with their next challenge when Dalglish and co journey to the Reebok Stadium for the Saturday tea-time encounter.
The Trotters currently sit second bottom in the Barclays Premier League, but the gaffer is well aware his side face a difficult challenge as they look to record a fifth straight win away to the Lancashire club.
Dalglish: "They've had a tough time at home. They had a fantastic result at Everton, but then lost at Old Trafford. They've struggled a wee bit at home. Last season they were a wee bit more productive there, so we just hope that run continues.
"It's not going to be easy for us. They're fighting for their lives at the bottom of the league and we've got ambitions to try and move up the league, so it's going to be a difficult game."
He added: "They've lost Gary Cahill (to Chelsea). I don't know if they'll replace him before the weekend, but they have been resilient under Owen Coyle in previous years. This year is probably the worst position they've been in since he came in. I'm sure they'll be working hard to resolve that and we don't want a backlash from them."