Spare a Thought For Sebastian Coates

Alex Livesey

Young Player of the Tournament in Uruguay's title-winning Copa America campaign in 2011, it's all gone wrong for Sebastian Coates since arriving at Anfield.

Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Manchester City at Anfield last season was notable for a number of reasons--everybody likes to say that Yaya Toure thought it was his toughest match since arriving in England, nobody likes to say that terrible defending led to both of City's equalizers, and people who like to make themselves feel sad feelings like to say that it looked as though Sebastian Coates would finally be working his way into the first-team picture at Liverpool after struggling to get consistent playing time under Kenny Dalglish.

Brendan Rodgers' decision to pick Coates ahead of Jamie Carragher seemed significant at the time, as Dalglish had often opted to go with the veteran rather than the promising Uruguayan during his ill-fated managerial tenure. Coates impressed in glimpses but couldn't push past Carragher on a regular basis, and Dalglish's preference for the veteran led to a disappointing and underwhelming inaugural campaign for a player who'd arrived with such promise.

So Rodgers' choice appeared to be an indication that the young central defender's qualities--calm on the ball, strong in the air, able to do this--

would finally be rewarded, but a run of inactivity post-City (and after his work late at Everton went unrewarded) for the remainder of the fall gave way to an ineffective performance alongside Martin Skrtel in the FA Cup loss at Oldham last January, and as the spring progressed it seemed as though his career at Liverpool was done with, even though he was yet to reach the age of 23 and had been announced by some as the type of defender that could possibly succeed Sami Hyypia for years to come.

As it turned out, a move away--temporary or permanent--would have been a better fit than what ended up happening in August, as he suffered a season-ending knee injury before he could do much of anything to secure a move away other than to make himself the body man for Luis Suarez, who ended up on Merseyside despite his best efforts.

Hopefully Sebastian Coates comes back from injury both ready to play and in a position to do so, whether or not it's at Liverpool. He's young enough to work through the lack of opportunities he's received during his time with the club and the injury he suffered last summer, and he's shown enough promise that a few seasons off the beaten track shouldn't yet determine the rest of his career.

Plus there's this:

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