They proved a real handful in attack with Cooper, Will Genia and Israel Folau running riot.
Cooper, installed as vice-captain ahead of the European tour, revelled in the number 10 jersey and provided a master class that Lydiate could only admire.
"These are the best players in the world so you can't give them any sort of chance because they will punish you like they did here," said Lydiate.
"When you have someone like Quade Cooper cat flapping the ball every time you have to play extra special attention to him.
"It is so hard to defend against him because you don't know if he is going to pass or when you think he will take it into contact he pulls the pass out the back of the hand.
"When we played against the Reds in the warm-up games for the Lions he was real quality for them.
"I remember saying at the time I thought he would be back in the squad by the end of the tour but that did not happen.
"They do miss a quality player like him and it shows what he can do when he plays."
Wales had targeted three victories from their four 2013 Dove Men Series clashes and failed to achieve their goal with triumphs against just Argentina and Tonga.
But Lydiate reckons injury-ravaged Wales will be in better shape going into 2014 than they were this year.
"It is better than last autumn," added the Racing Metro flanker.
"We have picked up a lot of injuries during this campaign and some young players have come in and have done themselves justice.
"That bodes well for the future and although we lost against Australia we can move on again and come back for the Six Nations and be ready to go."