Sebastian Coates needs the kind of seasoning and experience he can't get at Anfield right now.
Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror is reporting West Brom may make a move to bring Coates in on loan this January. Steve Clarke would have worked with the centre-back during his time at Liverpool last season.
Moving him out to West Brom would be perfect. Romelu Lukaku joined the Baggies on loan from Chelsea to start the season. He's flourished this year, scoring nine goals in 20 Premier League appearances.
Coates has shown signs of quality during his short career so far with Liverpool. Supporters likely still remember the scissor kick goal he scored against Queens Park Rangers last season.
At 22 years old, though, the Uruguayan needs first-team football right now. With Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel prowling the center of defense, that's not going to happen this year.
Coates has all the physical tools. He's tall and strong enough not be bullied by opposition attackers in the Premier League. He's also skilled enough on the ball to thrive in Brendan Rodgers' system.
However, his raw potential can only be fulfilled by playing on a regular basis.
Nixon labels him as a flop. That's incredibly harsh, but there's a certain amount of truth in the statement. The fee the Reds paid for Coates hasn't been fully revealed (likely in the £8 million range, via Daniel Edwards of Goal.com), but he has yet to live up to it.
Coates' only managed to make 10 appearances for the club in the Premier League over the last two seasons.
Moving him on loan could help the club's long-term plans. Coates will almost certainly be the Reds' centre-back in a few seasons.
He could also make Sktrel a little expendable.
At 28 years old, the upcoming summer could be a good time to unload him and receive £15-20 million.
He has been a little shaky at times. Skrtel is clearly a good centre-back, but he's been a little overrated by those who argue he should be untouchable.
Liverpool could use the funds from his sale to bolster other areas in the team that need addressed. Some club will likely overpay for him, and the Reds should benefit from that.
With Coates gaining experience this year, he could come right in the lineup and provide a very good replacement at no expense next season. He and Agger could form a solid partnership, much like Skrtel and Agger have now.
None of this is possible with the way the situation currently stands. The longer Coates sits on his bench, the more his potential will continue to be wasted.