Should Liverpool have kept hold of Sebastian Coates instead of buying Dejan Lovren?

Liverpool's on loan defender Sebastian Coates has been impressing with recent performances at Sunderland, so how does he compare to Liverpool's Dejan Lovren, who has struggled for form this season?

Sebastian Coates has been impressing in recent weeks for Sunderland. 

The Uruguayan, who is currently on loan from Liverpool, has sparked talk about whether he will have a role to play at Anfield next season. After the poor campaign that £20 million signing Dejan Lovren has endured for the Reds, Liverpool fans have been mulling over their options. 

Coates hasn't had much game time at Anfield since joining the club in the summer of 2011 - with a serious knee injury last season keeping him sidelined for an entire campaign, while he was sent out on loan this term in the hope of getting some regular match practice under his belt.

Given his recent run in the Sunderland side, at around the same time Lovren has been regularly used by Liverpool, we have looked at the duo's statistics since the start of April: 

  PositionTeamTackles AccuracyWon Header Duels %Error Lead To Shot per gameBlocks per gamePossession lost per gameAppearancesMins Played
Dejan Lovren DF Liverpool 73% 76.32 0 0.33 8.67 6 526
Sebastián Coates DF Sunderland 71% 80 0.2 2 9.2 5 450

It may surprise a few Liverpool fans that the statistics seem to suggest that Lovren has been performing at a higher level over the past few weeks - and during that time Yannick Bolasie gave him the runaround when the Reds met Crystal Palace.

Coates, the taller of the duo, has shaded it when it comes to performing better in the air. When it comes to errors and possession lost, Coates is higher on both counts, but he seems to block the ball more than the Croatia international.

The tackling accuracy is just shaded by Lovren, with both players possessing something of a clumsiness to their play, but the statistics may not be telling the entire story here. 

Liverpool are a side that plays with a very high line, and their defensive vulnerabilities as a whole have been well documented, while Sunderland have been scrapping for their lives, and on the road in particular they have been willing to sit deeper.

Given such a big fee was paid for Lovren last summer, it's unlikely Liverpool will give up on him so soon, but recent performances from Coates may have given those at Anfield food for thought.

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