On last night’s evidence, you never would have believed that Sporting Lisbon’s centre-backs had played for Liverpool and Barcelona.
Between them, Sebastian Coates and Jeremie Mathieu combined to gift Atletico Madrid a 2-0 lead in the Europa League quarter-finals, with the Uruguayan and the Frenchman at fault for each of the La Liga giants’ first-half strikes.
And the Liverpool fans who were tuning in to the mammoth clash at the Wanda Metropolitano would have found themselves suffering from some rather vivid déjà vu. Because Coates, who joined from Nacional in 2011 for a hefty £8 million, offered a clear indication why he never really made the grade at Anfield.
Coates might have been Sporting’s best defender this season but that form went out the window in Madrid.
It was his misplaced pass that gifted Koke the opening goal after 24 seconds and, in another dreadful misjudgement, played in Diego Costa for a simple chance which the Chelsea striker somehow spurned in the second half.
It was the sort of error-prone performance that restricted Coates to just 12 Premier League appearances for Liverpool before they sold him to Sunderland at a loss of £5 million in 2015.
Jurgen Klopp’s defence may have come under plenty of criticism this season but Coates’ display is a reminder that things could be worse.
That Coates for Lisbon is horrendous... another donkey we’ve had at centre back #LFC— Paul Burke (@burkov_p2005) April 5, 2018
I see Coates is playing as well for Sporting as he did for Liverpool— dean Lewis (@olderThanevil) April 5, 2018
Never been a fan of Sebastián Coates. Horrid time at Liverpool and looked no better in that loan spell with Sunderland. Just gifted Costa two opportunities which he failed to capitalise on.— Retro 4-4-2 (@Retro442) April 5, 2018
Watch the highlights with Sebastian Coates against Atletico and remember we paid £8m for him!!!— Liverpool Red (@lfcredynwa) April 5, 2018
Remember Sebastian Coates? He's having an absolute shocker tonight for Sporting , keeps on giving the ball away pic.twitter.com/kwDkZLc3QA— Denny (@Firmino9LFC) April 5, 2018
Shock— Adam Callaghan (@AdamCallaghan55) April 5, 2018