Why Lazar Markovic’s return will be a major boost for Liverpool

06.03.2016


With Lazar Markovic set to return to Liverpool at the end of the his loan spell with Fenerbahce, Jurgen Klopp will be welcoming back a real talent.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 27, 2014: Liverpool's Lazar Markovic in action against Everton during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Markovic joined the Turkish Super Lig side on a season-long loan in August, but after returning to Melwood as part of his recovery from a groin injury, held positive talks with Klopp.

The German explored the possibility of recalling Markovic in January, but the terms of his agreement saw him remain in Istanbul for the rest of 2015/16.

Now, Klopp has resolved to make a place for the 22-year-old in his Liverpool squad for the future, revealing: “I will say at the start of pre-season, ‘Welcome, and then it’s up to you’.”

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Markovic’s Liverpool career seemed all but over before Klopp’s arrival, but his fortunes have since changed.

If Markovic decides his future lies on Merseyside, the pacy attacker will be a useful addition to Klopp’s first-team squad.

 

Lazar Markovic, 2014/15

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 10, 2015: Liverpool's Lazar Markovic in action against Sunderland during the Premier League match at the Stadium of Light. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Signed for a £20 million fee at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign, Markovic arrived from Benfica boasting a reputation as one of Europe’s finest young talents.

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While this sizeable outlay represented something of a risk by the Reds, the winger could be considered a coup signing.

With four leagues titles—three with Partizan Belgrade, one with Benfica—and a Europa League runners-up medal to his name, Markovic had gained invaluable experience as a proven winner.

At the age of 20, Markovic had already made 114 first-team appearances, scoring 21 goals and making 21 assists, and was confident of making his mark.


“I hope that I will fulfil the expectations of the supporters, coaches, players and all connected to the club,” he said on his arrival.

“I have seen what the players are like, I have seen what the supporters are like, and I cannot wait to start playing here.”

KINGSTON-UPON-HULL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 28, 2015: Liverpool's Lazar Markovic against Hull City during the Premier League match at the KC Stadium. (Pic by Gareth Jones/Propaganda)

Unfortunately, the Serbian spent much of his first campaign on Merseyside in an unfamiliar wing-back role, with Rodgers moulding his post-Suarez side into a functional 3-4-2-1 formation.

Markovic did impress in fits and starts, however, particularly with a match-winning display away to Sunderland last January.

Scoring his first league goal for the club on the way to a 1-0 win, Markovic posed a threat to the Black Cats defence throughout, going close to adding a goal-of-the-season contender with an acrobatic volley from outside the area.

At the Stadium of Light, Markovic showed his potential—but crucially, this came from an advanced attacking role.

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Markovic made 34 appearances for the Reds in 2014/15, scoring two goals and registering a single assist.

This wasn’t enough to convince Rodgers of his worth, though Markovic’s choice of destination last summer further strengthened his reputation.

 

Markovic at Fenerbahce

Finishing second in the Turkish Super Lig in 2014/15, Fenerbahce once again fell short of their title rivals, Galatasaray, but through their league placing secured progress to the Champions League’s third qualifying round.

Losing 3-0 on aggregate in that two-legged tie against Shakhtar Donetsk, Fenerbahce dropped down into the Europa League, joining the Reds in Europe’s second-tier competition.

Under Vitor Pereira, the Istanbul side are well placed to seal the Turkish Super Lig title in 2015/16, and have reached the Europe League’s round of 16, where a clash with S.C. Braga awaits.

After disappointment last season, Pereira has collected a hugely talented group of attackers at Fenerbahce.


This has seen the experience of Fernandao, Robin Van Persie and Nani complemented by the youthful energy of Markovic and Alper Potuk, among others.

When fit, Markovic has played a key role in this attacking line, starting 10 of his 14 league appearances, as well as both of Europa League outings against Celtic.

His performance against the Scottish champions once again served to underline his ability, with a goalscoring display in a 1-1 draw at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium particularly impressive.

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What is perhaps most telling about Markovic’s time at Fenerbahce is that he has invariably operated as a right winger, with Pereira utilising his pace and powerful running to great effect.

Unfortunately, however, as March’s trip to Melwood points to, Markovic’s 2015/16 campaign has been hampered by injury, and next season will be something of a new start for the 22-year-old.

 

Markovic’s Role Under Klopp

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, February 26, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the Football League Cup Final against Manchester City. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We are short on wingers,” Klopp continued to explain as he laid down the gauntlet for Markovic for this summer’s pre-season, succinctly acknowledging the Serbian’s future role.

Klopp’s enthusiasm when it comes to Markovic is no doubt inspired by his current lack of wide options at Liverpool.

Shortly after his arrival at Liverpool, the 48-year-old will have assessed the players available to him, and as the mass recalling of loan players in January proved, will have been shocked at some of those out on loan.

Though injuries have stunted his consistency, Markovic’s performance for Fenerbahce this season prove that he would have been a useful option for the German at Liverpool in 2015/16.

But for 2016/17 and beyond, Markovic can still play a major role on Merseyside.

Primarily, this will be due to his skill set as a pacy, dynamic forward, capable of operating in a number of roles in the attacking line.

KINGSTON-UPON-HULL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 28, 2015: Liverpool's Lazar Markovic in action against Hull City during the Premier League match at the KC Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino firmly established as Klopp’s first-choice options on the left flank and behind the striker, Markovic could continue his right-sided role into next season.

James Milner is Klopp’s regular option on the right at this stage, but while he has contributed to some of Liverpool’s best performances this season, he lacks the pace that Markovic provides.


Importantly, Markovic has also showcased his willingness to defend from the front this season with Fenerbahce—a factor that will be crucial to Klopp’s planning for the future.

The prospect of Markovic driving at defences, both on the counter and on the front foot, interchanging with the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Adam Lallana behind the centre-forward, will be an intriguing one to Klopp.

Klopp may continue his search for wingers in the transfer market this summer, but in Markovic he is able to welcome back a readymade solution who, at 22, can continue his development at Liverpool.

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101 COMMENTS

  1. Markovic isn’t good enough for the premier league yet. He’ll add nothing to our squad that we don’t already have. He would’ve been useful this season with our injuries but Klopp said he’ll be looking for wingers in the summer, ones that can send a dangerous cross into our strikers I’d assume.

    • I long for wingers that can beat a player on the outside, give us width and not always want to come inside. I love it when wingers get to the by-line and more importantly defenders hate it…

  2. Frankly I did not see much from Marko, possibly bc he was played out of his natural position …
    And in football 1 player alone cant do much, he must fit into the team…
    Interesting what Klopp can do with him…

  3. If he comes back does that mean we will not sign a decent winger i hope it does not
    And just because hes coming back it means nothing ask ward

    • I think buying a left sided player will happen regardless of Markovic. I can’t see him being anymore than a squad player next season.

      • but if we get no european football how many squad players are we going to need we have more than enough at the club all ready
        Better to get rid of some of the numbers and improve on quaility

        • I think plenty will be going anyway…Enrique, Wisdom, Alberto, Balotelli, Benteke, Ibe, Wisdom, Bogdan, Sinclair, Teixiera…maybe Allen, Lucas, Sktrel, Lallana, Mignolet.
          I think Markovic will be seen as an improved back up.
          I think Klopp will try to have a 1st and 2nd team…I see Markovic or Lallana in the 2nd team and a Gotze or Sane in the 1st

          • take mario who is going to pay his wages
            we will either have to give him away or loan him out unless aclub where he wants to go come in for him

          • we will sell him to china if he wants to go if he does not want to go he will not
            As for milan why would they buy him when they know we will pay half is wages
            I can never understand why we loan players to italian clubs they always do the same take aquaman

        • The fact that we bid on Alex Teixeira in the summer and have constantly been linked with Gotze and Sane, implies Klopp is after wants another left sided player. Maybe he is planning on making room by selling Ibe and Lallana (although I don’t think Klopp wants to sell “his neighbour” Lallana).

          • I wouldn’t and I hope Klopp won’t. I think Ibe needs to move on, that leaves Lallana, Origi and possibly Firmino on the left…it does make you think that if Markovic comes back then that will be it…but if that is the case why did we bid for Teixeira in January!?
            I would be happy to see Markovic return, but not at the price of Gotze or Sane!!!

          • But did we really bid for him we offered a price knowing full well it was never going to be expected
            Smokescreen for me

          • Nothing like a good conspiracy theory hey Carr!? We bid a decent price and Klopp wasnt prepared to go any higher

          • Yes he won’t make it. Behind Origi, Lallana and Firmino on the left. Next season will also be behind Markovic and whatever left sided player we buy (Gotze, Sane, etc).
            He simply hasn’t progressed and I suspect will leave the club the same way Wisdom will. Will go out on loan and won’t come back!

          • He is getting enough game time at the moment he shouldn’t be a regular at this age as he clearly is not good enough yet. Firmino and Origi are not wingers. Makovich will see. He is young with a lot of time under his watch

          • But how much game time will he get next season after Klopp has finished spending?
            It doesnt matter if Firmino and Origi are wingers or not, as if Klopp is playing a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, then Ibe will play on the left side of the 3, just as Origi does, Lallana does and I expect Firmino to when Markovic is back and Studge is up front and Couts central as number 10.
            I just think with new signings Ibe will fall even further down the pecking order.

          • Just watched Alex Teixeira debut goals in China…wow, maybe Klopp should have paid the £38 million

          • I can’t see the Chinese wanting to make a loss, and if we are happy to pay what he they did, then why didn’t we get him in January? I think that ship has sailed. Gotze or Sane look more likely

      • His pedigree was good before Rodgers signed him, the lad went backwards and was then out the door, Klopp is saying he’ll be given his chance to prove himself, can’t be fairer than that.

        • I don’t think his bad season was all down to Rodgers. He was given chances and he failed to make the most of them.

  4. IMO: I’m not an expert but he’s not the classic born-and-bred winger… I watched Benfica a few times back then… He can play there of course when called… But 50+ games if lucky with injuries and cards is a question… I trust Klopp though and I’m only telling my opinion… Perhaps he’s got a magic potion transforming players :-))

  5. I do wonder about Marko’s future honestly…he seems to be doing alright in Fenerbache, but it’s not like he’s the main man and it’s a top league. Is 10 starts and 4 sub appearances really that impressive considering Fener have already played 23 games already? Granted though, he’s had injuries going on this season.

    I just watch his play and I wonder if it will fit with our current style of play. Last season was pretty much hit and miss and probably more miss than hit from Lazar. Has his overall ball control and ball retention skills gotten better? Because that’s something that looked really rash to me. With Milner, he may not have pace but he does have consistency and is a never ending workhourse and lately is starting to show his quality in consistency as well.

    I also wonder if we will get another winger into the team and what will happen with Ibe.

    • The transfer window doesn’t close until three weeks into the season, I’ve got a feeling that Klopp will you use the preseason tours and mini tournaments to assess Marko, Klopps comment “he’ll be back preseason, it’s up to him” suggest to me that Marko still has to convince Klopp and there will still be time in the window to bring in another winger depending on who’s available and how well Marko does, Klopps keeping his options open I think..
      I’m still hoping Ryan Kent will get some game time preseason as well, he’s a natural winger and highly thought of at the academy albeit still some way from a first team regular…

      • Yeah sure he will…but sometimes pre-season tours aren’t enough to tell whether to persevere with a player or otherwise. Considering he cost 20mil I think Klopp will give him a chance for another season..as long as his head is in the right place and he wants to fight for a place out here I think he’ll get one season under Klopp at the very least.

        How much impact he can make in that season though is anyone’s guess at this moment. Lazar is quick, but his close control with the ball is pretty poor last time I checked. So he’ll need to have those facets of his game improved if he wants to play regularly for us.

        • Agreed preseason isn’t enough but it will give Klopp the opportunity to work with a player he’d never met until three days ago, it’s a big opportunity for Marko to impress and that can only be good for the lad…

          • I think he will get the season to see if they can get the potential from him. He signed a 5 year contract when signed so would have 2 years left even if it doesnt work out.

          • Agreed, keeping him for another year isn’t going to diminish his value and if he comes good everyone benefits..

        • I doubt the £20m will influence Klopp’s decision on Markovic, he knows prices are inflated in England, & will judge purely on ability. Don’t mind if he stays or goes, I’d prefer to see Klopp’s own signings dominating the lineup next year anyway.

          • I think Klopp maybe planning on having 2 teams next season. Markovic for me will be in the 2nd team.

        • Yeah, I hate it when we sign players after the season has started, I’m all in favour of getting business done early and new signings in place for preseason. Not always easy though with players, agents and selling clubs all holding out for the best offer, option or fee.
          The euros aren’t going to help with so many top players being away on international duty…
          I don’t think Marko getting a season back with us and another opportunity rules out the possibilty of us bringing in another top drawer winger though, it depends on who’s available and realistic…

          • Too many players not good enough on the books, there’s bound to be a major sort out, I would expect about 10 to be allowed to leave.

          • I have no doubt whatsoever that our departures in the summer will a lot more than our arrivals, the departures will probably be mostly those who have absolutely no future at the club and contribute nothing. I wouldn’t anticipate masses of arrivals far from it but I would hope those that are brought in will be an upgrade on what we already have…

          • I would bet now we have some players on our books next season that the club do not want the wages are going to be a problem with some of them
            The players no that and will end up going out on loan to clubs of there choice with us paying some of there wages

      • Steve, there will be quite a few of them having to prove to Klopp that they are good enough, those out on loan haven’t had a chance yet for him to assess them properly but I can hazard a guess there’ll be no hangers on at Anfield next season.

        • Absolutely, we have a lot of players on the books that Klopp hasn’t even met yet, he’ll take his time to assess but there will be a cull at some stage…

    • In this moment we have enough players.. Markovic comes back – one has to go.. We buy an experienced winger, one more has to go..

      • Yeah that’s another thing to sort out surely…like if everyone is fit then surely not everyone will get a chance to play…so where would that leave Marko and Ibe in that case? I’m guessing Ibe will either go back to playing U-21, loaned or just played lesser. Coutinho and Firmino will have regular starting roles surely. Milner and Lallana look like they’ll continue as well. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for others then.

    • Ibe has disappointed and really hasn’t kicked on. Klopp (and Brendan) gave him many chances but he hasn’t seized them. He was talked about as being better than Sterling, but has turned out to be worse.

      His young age is the only thing in his favour at the moment.

        • If he does go on loan after all his first team appearances, it will speak volumes and could unsettle him.

          • Personally, I think it would devastate a young player to be given all those chances at his parent club which builds a sense of expectation in his mind…only to be loaned out the following season.

        • No, no more loans…we should have never loaned him to begin with. 20mil buys shouldn’t be loaned unless the purpose is to sell.

          Edit – Sorry you meant Ibe…nevermind.

          • i agree even our youngsters shouldn’t be loaned they should be kept and trained from within

      • Ibe’s problem is that he is blinkered, doesn’t know what to do with the ball once he gets it, head down and a rush of blood. It’s a shame because he’s fast, good control, big, strong and young. Will probably make it at championship level but he’s not Liverpools future unfortunately.

        • Ibe was 19 at the start of the season. It wasn’t fair that he was our only winger in the whole squad. Too much pressure was put on his shoulders by bizarre decisions made by the previous regime. Bringing in an experienced winger to help Ibe is a must, imo. He’s 20, he should be allowed to make mistakes and progress.

          • Agreed, but will he develop into the player we need at LFC. His overall game has been very poor this season. In the past he’s shown flashes but will he make the grade? At present he’s nowhere near the level as what stirling was or has been this season. Long way to go for Ibe, we love that word patience at LFC, I get annoyed at it.

      • The way i see it at times.. looks like Klopp loves him. he has the talent.. the game he had againts everton this season was good..but he is not keeping it up. i really hope he will do well and start getting recognition. time will tell… but he from our academy.. thats why i want him to well.

      • how many people actually believed that Ibe was better than Sterling? I remember people trashing me on this forum for saying Sterling was way better. Fans couldn’t view Sterling objectively (because of how he treated the club). I don’t like how he treated the club but he is a talent and Pep will turn him into a star player.
        Do you think Ibe will kick on next season?

  6. The TIA poll is a tricky one simply because none of us have seen enough of the lad played in a right wing position to form a conclusive opinion, my take on the three questions would be;
    A. Lets all hope so…
    B. Maybe but time will tell
    C. Only if he blows A. & B
    It would be a major boost and improve us if he can live up to the hype when he joined us, I wish him well and hope he does…

  7. What is most intriguing about Marko (his tremendous Acceleration) is also the most concerning…

    His last three injuries at Fenerbache have been Hamstring injuries which caused him to miss 11 games.

    If you recall, we once had a traitorous player (now annoying BT sports pundit) who relied a lot on his speed and was basically hamstrung most of the time.

  8. Hmmm…this is interesting.

    Hatem Ben Arfa?
    He has been in fantastic form this season with 12 goals in 26 matches for Nice.

  9. I would’t say he is a (MAJOR) boost ….. i think its fair to say the juryi is well and truly out on him atm……. i remember him before he was ok ish.. and i certainly remeber he wa on most fans chop list when he was here … ok give the lad another chance but please lets keep it real.

  10. Sorry nothing about tje article but todays game and our top four chances.

    i like many finally wrote them off afew weeks back but after recent events i serously think the door is a jar again. (ifwebeat palace today)

    Aparently Arsenal are serious title contenders and they are 6 pts off the leaders…….but if we win our game in hand we wil be 6pts off top four yet we have no chance . HMMMM !

    • Agree with you. How many times has this team gotten our hopes up though, until we see them come crashing down. I doubt a late surge for top 4, but will gladly welcome it if it happens! YNWA

  11. Calm down guys, he’s nothing special. He’ll be kept just to help fellow Serb Grujic settle in. Yarmolenko, Quincy Promes, or Vitolo would be my choices for wingers.

  12. One to see if he’s good enough, another potential then, Ibe also. He does remind me of the Mo Salah type, just not quite ready or consistent enough in performances. One out of 10 will be a blinder, the rest cocooned and average. IKWT to make this decision.

  13. Good to see that he will be offered time here to prove what he can do.
    We have many good prospects on the wings- Ibe, Marko, Ojo, Kent.
    Still, I’d like to see us add another winger in the summer. Jese Rodriguez or Leroy Sane would be good.

  14. The previous manager had wanted Sanchez out wide, then Reus, then Shaqiri to make an immediate impact on the Champions League. Markovic was, at best, a player that the committee decided would take a few years to develop into a major talent.

    It certainly wasn’t going to happen last season, which was clear whenever he played up front. He was given an opportunity to get on the pitch in his first season as a wingback, and his good performances were almost exclusively there during our purple patch in the middle of the season.

    I’m guessing – because we can’t do more than that – that he demanded to play up front, but couldn’t be given guarantees that we could afford to watch him finding his feet for another season.

    He may yet develop into a world class talent, but he has so far shown nothing to suggest that he has been anything more than a world class gamble. Considering our lack of pace, he’ll be a welcome return, but I can’t imagine anyone getting overly excited if he were a new signing this summer. I hope he does well.

  15. the guy costs 20 m i rather we see what he has to offer before selling him for a total loss unless if someone is willing to pay even half of what we paid

  16. Good player and what we need. Id say him or ibe need to stake a claim on the right wing position. Ibe seems to have some off the boil big time.

  17. I like the lad and think he has great talent if played in the right position. i expect Klopp to get the best out of him.

  18. Well we need wingers and he is already ours, so yeah, bring him back. Can’t see him setting the league on fire though. Defo not worth £20m!

  19. Still baffled that Rodgers loaned out a player he payed 20 mil for…. Unreal. Klopp will be able to extract the best from Markovic

  20. What LFC need is at the least 2 LEADERS on the field. Two players in the mold of Gerrard(4 seasons ago) and Suarez.

    The young talent will flourish under this type of players.

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