Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he has never doubted the ability of midfielder Naby Keita.
The Guinea international joined from Leipzig for £52.7m in the summer of 2018 but has been used sparingly by Klopp, especially in the current campaign.
But Keita was on target on his first Premier League start of the season in the 3-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday, doubling the Reds' lead before playing in Mohamed Salah for the third after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had opened the scoring.
Klopp insists his faith in the 24-year-old has never wavered, but injuries to Keita and the good form of others in the squad have limited his opportunities.
"Naby had injuries, the team is in really good shape, so then do you change?" said Klopp.
"We are not flying, it's not like we won all of the games 4-0, or 5-0, so we had to bring on a player who helps us with defending set-pieces.
"Then Naby is sitting outside thinking, 'why don't I play?' I get all that. So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it.
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"But in the end, of course, a player needs to have this evidence that the manager still believes in you. I was never in doubt about that.
"It was just unlucky and in life, you need luck always. He started [his Liverpool career] really well - everybody forgot that - then got injured. And again we had two really good seasons.
"[I was] never in doubt about his quality."
Liverpool last lost a league game in early January, when they were beaten 2-1 by eventual title winners Manchester City at the Etihad.
But despite building a sizeable points advantage over Leicester and City at the top of the table, Klopp is refusing to get too carried away about their title chances, having missed out on their first Premier League crown by just one point last season.
"I don't know if it's so special because we don't think about it," he said of the unbeaten run.
"We get confronted with our winning streak always after the game, that's the only moment. From that moment on, nobody thinks about it.
"It's not that I have to keep myself together because I'm flying and want to constantly smile and run around.
"I'm pretty concerned about always the next game and that means we have to make sure that we're always in the best possible shape.
"And the boys are in the same mood. The boys so far were 100 per cent serious and will stay (like that) and see where it leads us."