Former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates has revealed that his Anfield exit was far from a certainty this summer.
According to the centre-back, who spent last season on loan with Sunderland before making the move permanent at the end of the campaign, he might have stayed with the Reds had things gone differently.
The 24-year-old joined Liverpool from Nacional in 2011, shortly after helping Uruguay win the Copa America. He was ranked among the best young defenders in the world at the time, but injury problems restricted his impact on Merseyside, where he made just 24 appearances in all competitions – scoring twice.
He initially struggled with the Black Cats, having fallen out of favour under Gus Poyet, but the arrival of Dick Advocaat as manager inspired an impressive return to form. He helped guide the club to Premier League survival and was a natural fit for them again ahead of the new season.
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Speaking about his decision in quotes taken by the Liverpool Echo, he admitted that the final month of last season helped sway his decision, as he seeks out regular first-team football. With Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure all ahead of him in our pecking order, he was always unlikely to feature this year.
“When I first came here [Sunderland] last year I just did it to play games and recover from my injuries,” he explained.
“The last month of the season changed everything but that is football. It was a great month for me and of course that was the best bit of the season for me. It was not certain I would leave Liverpool this summer but I always thought I would have to speak with the club and see what the situation was.
“I knew it was a great opportunity to come to Sunderland and play regularly in the Premier League. That is why I’m here. You have to take those chances and I hope I have the opportunity to play regularly.”