In Brendan Rodgers’ mind, Sebastian Coates may no longer have been a Liverpool player anyway when news emerged, as per Subrayado, reported by This Is Anfield, that the Uruguayan defender is to return to his homeland on loan for six months.
Having spent £24 million on two central defenders on the final day of the summer transfer window, as well as bringing in veteran Kolo Toure on a free transfer, it is fair to say Coates had fallen very far down the Liverpool pecking order.
His career on Merseyside has been uncomfortable, to say the least.
Since coming in from Nacional in 2011 with much hype, and as a younger upgrade for Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Coates has made just 12 league appearances for the Reds.
Having never impressed either Kenny Dalglish or Rodgers enough to earn himself a good run of games, it wouldn’t be harsh to say Coates has failed to take advantage of his chances at Liverpool.
His stunning acrobatic goal against Queens Park Rangers in March 2012 will be his abiding memory with Reds fans, but even that was marred by the conceding of three goals in the final 13 minutes to let a 2-0 lead slip into a defeat at Loftus Road.
Coates never looked comfortable in a Liverpool shirt—sluggish and unable to adjust to the English game. He was also unfortunate to be among a number of players to carry a negative stigma from a succession of Damien Comolli signings—which doomed Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam long ago.
His nightmare performance during last season’s FA Cup fourth-round defeat at Oldham Athletic could well have been the nail in the coffin for Coates, who made just two more appearances in 2012/13, in meaningless end-of-season games.
Neil Poole of This Is Anfield summed up Coates’ time at Liverpool perfectly when he wrote:
It may be a rather agricultural way to assess the success of a player but it’s telling that Coates has been at the club two years and every other fan still mispronounces his name. It’s fairly easy to establish his name is no longer at the forefronts of many people’s minds and not on the tips of their tongues; they simply haven’t had to use it that much.
Having damaged his anterior cruciate ligament whilst on international duty last summer, and not having played since, it would be a surprise if Liverpool tried to replace Coates.
Nevertheless, with both Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho out injured, the Reds are beginning to look a bit thin on the ground when it comes to central-defensive cover.
Alex Richards of the Mirror suggested on Tuesday that AC Milan’s Nigel de Jong could replace the injured Lucas Leiva and would provide some defensive responsibility from midfield. However, it is more likely that Rodgers would want to find a long-term solution to that holding midfield role than the 29-year-old Dutchman.
Liverpool are unlikely to see Coates again, but given his absence for the last six months, it won’t be an exit that creates any new problems for Rodgers and his squad.