Jurgen Klopp has not ruled out a possible return for Lazar Markovic in the future, despite the winger’s continued time away from Liverpool on loan.
Markovic saw his temporary spell with Sporting CP terminated early this season, moving swiftly on to Premier League relegation candidates Hull City, where he has linked up with Marco Silva.
The 22-year-old made his debut in the Tigers’ 2-1 victory over Manchester United in the League Cup semi-finals on Thursday night, providing a hockey assist for Oumar Niasse’s winner, though they still followed Liverpool out of the competition on aggregate.
Having struggled with injuries during his time on loan with both Sporting and, previously, Fenerbahce, Markovic will be hoping he can revive his fortunes at the KC Stadium.
Though his chances are slim, this could see him regain his role at Liverpool, as Klopp told reporters on Friday afternoon.
“He’s still got a contract, so why should I say there’s no chance for Lazar Markovic?” he asked.
“If he plays really well at Hull, then why not? He’s still a young boy.
“We all know we struggled because of a few injuries, in the wrong moment.
“If he can stay fit, and help Hull, for us it’s easier to look than at what he was doing in Portugal.”
There is cause to argue that Markovic, who joined the Reds from Benfica in a £20 million deal in 2014, could have provided Klopp with a welcome attacking boost in the absence of Sadio Mane.
The Serbia international is Liverpool’s most experienced like-for-like alternative to their No. 19, but after including him in his squad for pre-season, Klopp is clearly convinced he requires more game time.
It remains doubtful that Markovic will return and establish himself at Liverpool, but still 22, he does have time on his side.
Having already made a decisive contribution on his debut for Hull, Markovic will now need to maintain a level of consistency under Silva and prove he is capable of shining week in, week out.
As he showed in his time at Benfica, Markovic has the raw ability to become a top-level winger, but his fragile mentality and brittle physicality make him a questionable option in England.
His time in Yorkshire could be make-or-break, with Klopp likely to make a final decision on his future in the summer.