Liverpool will give Sebastian Coates time to settle

Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates will be given plenty of time to settle into his new surroundings but first team coach Steve Clarke is confident the Uruguay international is ready to play.

The 20-year-old signed a long-term contract with the Reds last week having made the move from Nacional in his homeland.

He immediately went on duty with his national side for a friendly in Kiev against Ukraine along with Reds team-mate Luis Suarez and will not return to Melwood until next week.

While manager Kenny Dalglish will be keen to get the 6ft 6ins centre-back involved as quickly as possible the Carling Cup third round tie at Brighton on September 21 looks an ideal match for his debut.

But having made his first senior appearance prior to this summer's Copa America, where he was named young player of the tournament as Uruguay lifted the trophy, Clarke believes Coates can slot in seamlessly.

"It'll be a different challenge for him because the English Premier League is a league that takes a little bit of getting used to, so hopefully we can nurse him along, get him ready and he'll be a valuable addition to the squad," said the Scot.

"You never really know how a foreign player coming into the English game is going to adapt.

"Some take a long time to adjust, while others like Luis Suarez come in and settle straight away.

"You just keep an eye on it and hope the boy settles quickly, gets to know his team-mates, gets a few chances to play and then you build on it from there.

"But he's a full international and Uruguay are amongst the top five in the world, so they're a strong international team.

"He's ready to play if required, but we've also got many other centre-halves ready to play if required."

While Coates' signing was made with one eye on the future he will quickly be integrated into a first-team squad which now has several new faces after a summer of seven arrivals and numerous other departures.

Although the average age of the outfield squad has been lowered by just under a year, the recruitment process has highlighted an area Dalglish wanted to tackle.

In the squad which finished last season in sixth there were 10 players aged 28 or over - five of them have been removed either on loan or permanent deals.

From the squad Dalglish will take into their Barclays Premier League match at Stoke a week tomorrow there will be just six players over 28 - and that includes an injured Steven Gerrard.

Four of the half-dozen summer signings - Coates, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique - are 25 and under while 32-year-old Craig Bellamy's arrival was because the club saw an opportunity to sign the experienced striker as a short-term measure.

Clarke said the signing of players like Coates was part of the plan to bring in younger players and develop them further.

"He's a talented youngster and gives us different options at the back," the Scot told liverpoolfc.tv.

"We look to sign young players that can improve and we looked at his performances throughout the Copa America when he was named young player of the tournament. It's certainly exciting.

"We're basically a young team who are still getting to know each other and still working on strengths and weaknesses.

"All over the team you can see little partnerships and combinations starting to form.

"Hopefully over a period of time we'll improve and the team performances will improve too."

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