Lazar Markovic‘s proposed £2.9 million move to Anderlecht collapsed at the final hour, with the Serbian left on the books at Liverpool until at least January.
Markovic was expected to return to Belgium on the final day of the European transfer window, with the Reds agreeing a budget deal with his former loan club.
At a loss of £17.1 million on the fee paid to sign him from Benfica, this was a desperate deal that highlighted the winger’s fall from grace on Merseyside.
After arriving as one of the most hotly touted youngsters in Europe, Markovic has played just 34 appearances times for Liverpool over four years, scoring three goals.
With a mixture of mismanagement and a struggle to adapt seeing him fail to fire in his first season at Anfield, he subsequently spent time with Fenerbahce, Sporting CP and Hull City on loan.
His most recent temporary switch came in the second half of last season with Anderlecht, who made a late move after it emerged that the Reds had drastically reduced their asking price.
But despite Markovic traveling to Brussels for talks ahead of a possible medical, he has failed to clinch his Anfield exit.
This is, according to the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce, because he “couldn’t agree personal terms,” suggesting he is willing to wait out the final year of his Liverpool deal.
There is very little chance of the 24-year-old featuring again under Jurgen Klopp, even though he said on Friday that “I’m pretty open to anybody who shows me he’s desperate to play.”
It has been speculated that Markovic’s lack of urgency in training led to his downfall, though clearly this cannot be substantiated.
But with the Reds willing to take a heavy loss on the £20 million they shelled out, there is little hope of a comeback.
His output since joining starkly contrasts with the praise of his manager at Partizan Belgrade, Avram Grant.
“I can say that apart from Ronaldo and Messi, Markovic is one of the best talents I’ve ever seen at 19 years of age,” Grant enthused in 2014.
The Serbian faces an insurmountable challenge to be considered one of the best in the world now, and this is another major setback in a troubled career.
Markovic is but one of many players who has stayed at Liverpool when it seemed wiser that they move on, with Simon Mignolet, Pedro Chirivella, Divock Origi and Dom Solanke all remaining.
January provides their next opportunity to depart, and the club will hope to recoup some of their outlay in doing so.