Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic has been handed a hefty four-game ban for violent conduct after as his red card against Basel in the Champions League comes back to bite him.
Not much has been said about the Serbia international's punishment since the incident from the Reds’ 1-1 draw back in December as they ended up being eliminated from the Champions League, so it didn’t effect any immediate fixtures.
But now, as Liverpool prepare to face Besiktas on Thursday in the Europa League, Brendan Rodgers has been informed he will be without his Serbian winger for four games.
It is a quite astonishing ban which will see him miss both games with the Turkish side and the two last 16 games if Liverpool progress. Considering what Markovic was actually sent off for, it does seem very harsh.
The Serbian took to Twitter this morning to tweet his amazement at the decision by simply putting "4?".
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The odds of going through to the next round of the Champions League were stacked against Liverpool in December when they faced Basel and, after a poor first half, Rodgers brought on Markovic in the hope of turning things around, which the winger looked like doing - until the 60th minute.
Fifteen minutes after being introduced, the Serbian lifted his hand in the direction of Basel’s Behrang Safari, resulting in very minimal contact and a very theatrical collapse from Safari.
After that game the Liverpool manager berated the decision labelling it “really, really poor” insisting that his player should never have been sent off for such a trivial situation.
The red card against Basel was born out of frustration, as the game was not going the way that Liverpool wanted it to, which pretty much summed up their entire Champions League campaign. It was a tough group to be drawn in and needing a result against Basel was always going to be hard, so they inevitably dropped down into the Europa League.
There is no doubt that Rodgers will be disappointed with the decision and will likely have something to say about it.
It is just another problem for Rodgers as facing Besiktas brings another recent memory to the fore. That is in the shape of Demba Ba. The former Chelsea forward now plays for the Turkish side and will be returning to Anfield on Thursday night; the scene of the crime from last season.
It is Ba who the Chelsea fans still sing about after Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip gifted the ball to the striker who then pushed the Premier League title away from the Reds. Rodgers, Gerrard and the Liverpool fans will need no reminding of that as it probably still haunts them now.
No doubt Ba will get a warm reception when he arrives at Anfield on Thursday.
Is Markovic's punishment harsh of fair? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.
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