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Defender Wants Liverpool Stay but Playing Time the Priority

All things being equal, Sebastian Coates would like to stay at Liverpool. However, his top priority heading into the season is making sure he ends up somewhere he can get playing time.

Mike Stobe

Brendan Rodgers has taken note. Many fans have taken note. And certainly Sebastian Coates has, as a strong pre-season has forced the his name back into the mix in an increasingly crowded Liverpool backline. Few expected it heading into the summer, but Coates is once again being talked about as a player with a future at the club.

"The tour has been great for me," said the towering Uruguayan. "This pre-season is really important as I need to get as many minutes as I can. Last season was really difficult. I had a bad injury and after being out for so long it's great to be back fit. I try always to give my best and I know I need to improve more on the other years that I've been here."

Yet despite the strong pre-season, the defender believes his immediate future may lie away from Anfield. He's made a solid case for being fourth defender on merit, but at 23 years of age and coming off an injury setback, he knows more than anybody else just how badly he needs to find a place where he can get regular playing time.

"I would like to stay at Liverpool and play, but that's not just down to me," he said. "It depends on the manager and the club. They will decide what happens. After being out for so long, I need to play, [so] if I do stay I want to play more than I did in the other years."

With minutes in mind, a loan to a bottom half Premier League side or a Championship promotion candidate would seem ideal for Coates. And on the strength of pre-season, a year as a starter somewhere else might just get him back into contention at Liverpool as something more than a fringe player.

If Coates' short-term future lying away from Anfield still seems likely, what his strong pre-season may have changed are his longer term prospects. Heading into the summer, many assumed the club would seek to find him a new home on a permanent deal. Now, that looks unlikely.

It's even possible that, depending on who gets sold, Coates could end up the club's fourth defender. The minutes wouldn't equal those he could get as a stater elsewhere, but with Liverpool in four competitions and Kolo Toure making 25 appearances last season across all competitions, it's not impossible to imagine him staying to fill a similar role.

A month ago, you would have been hard pressed to find a Liverpool fan who would have thought that a realistic option.

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