Markovic to Liverpool: An Overview

Markovic to Liverpool: An Overview

After the inevitable but emotional departure of the controversial Luis Suarez, Liverpool have wasted no time in putting the £75 million to boost their squad. After the signings of Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert from Southampton as well as Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen, the Reds are back in the transfer market and have all but sealed the signing of Lazar Markovic.

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The 20-year-old Serbian is set to make the move to Anfield from Portuguese side Benfica to further bolster the attacking options for Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool had been heavily linked with the rapid midfielder for a number of weeks and will carry a hefty £20 million price tag. Fans will hope that the transfer fee will turn out to be a wise decision from Rodgers but you can’t help but think whether it’s a risk for a player yet to prove himself at the level of the Premier League’s standard.

Overview

Markovic moved to Benfica from his native Partizan Belgrade just over a year ago for fee of around £9 million. Over the course of the season, he played 26 games in the Primeira Liga, scoring five times with four assists to his name. The Serbian also played in five Champions League games and eight Europa League matches on route to the final which his team lost to Sevilla on penalties. Markovic still ended up with a domestic treble in his one season with Benfica, winning the league and both cups to cap off an impressive season for the young star. Making his debut at just 17-years-old, the predominately right sided midfielder has made 12 appearances for the national side, scoring twice.

Positioning

With his excellent pace and neat dribbling, he should fit into Liverpool’s system perfectly. With Rodgers likely to revert back to his favoured 4-3-3 formation after the departure of Suarez, Markovic should fit in nicely on either flank. His favoured position is on the left of the three in attack but was successfully deployed on the right for much of his time at Benfica, giving him the opportunity to cut inside more often as well as crossing on the wing.

With Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge making up the attack either as a front three or with Sterling playing behind the two strikers last season, we are now likely to see Sturridge lead the line on his own with two of either Sterling, Lallana or Markovic providing the support on the wings. All three players also have the ability to play at the top of a diamond formation which Rodgers did switch to from time to time, to good effect. All in all, it does mean that although Suarez will be a big miss, Liverpool will have more options in the final third and will be able to call on quality substitutes to make the difference if need be.

Good Omens

Markovic will be looking to follow in the footsteps of many former Benfica players who have gone onto successful periods of their career at other clubs. Players David Luiz, Ramires and Di Maria have gone onto win domestic and European trophies over the years and hopefully the 20-year-old can emulate the same feats for the Anfield club.

As seen last year, Rodgers has been able to bring out the best in his youngsters with Flanagan, Coutinho and especially Sterling showcasing their potential in a hugely entertaining title race. The manager has given these players the license to express themselves and has reaped rewards so you can only assume that he will give Markovic the same authorisation to roam in the final third.

A Risk worth Taking?

Chelsea has also shown interest in the Benfica man but after losing out the Willian and Salah to the London club, Liverpool were not about to make the same mistake again and will be happy that the deal is all but done.

Many in England may not have heard of Markovic and at such a young age, Liverpool fans shouldn’t expect too much too quickly but those who do know him say that he is a diamond in the rough. Only time will tell.