Just a year after Liverpool shelled out £20 million for his services, Lazar Markovic already looks like he is on the fringes at Anfield after a loan deal was agreed with Turkish giants Fenerbahce this weekend.
The 21-year-old came to Merseyside from SL Benfica, a club he spent just one year at after joining from FK Partizan Belgrade in summer 2013.
Markovic made nineteen starts in that year and seven substitute appearances, scoring five and assisting four on the season. The Serbian is by no means someone who can dominate the game yet – but Liverpool should have been well aware of that when buying him.
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Markovic is a winger, and a very gifted winger on the ball. His pace is also fantastic, and when on form he is capable of making a key pass or hitting a good strike at goal.
The problem was that as soon as he arrived at Anfield, he was slotted into a system that did not fit him whatsoever. Rogers’ desire to play wing backs instead of wide midfielders or wingers stifled Markovic’s progress.
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He is clearly not a defensive contributor, but rather an offensive dynamo from the flanks that needs experience if he is to learn how to beat Premier League defenders.
Markovic on loan to Fenerbahce for a season, with no disclosed permanent option included in his deal. The likelihood is that he will receive some first team minutes – that is, if Luis Nani is to be played on the left hand side.
Nani has joined the Turkish giants along with his former Man United teammate Robin Van Persie, which could indicate an exploration into playing front three with two wingers. Nani and Markovic occupying either flank in the Turkish league sounds like a dangerous combination, but Markovic should be on loan somewhere else.
The goal of sending someone out on loan is to get them first team experience, but Markovic moving to Turkey for a year after just getting adjusted to English life makes zero sense from a Liverpool perspective.
Unless Brendan Rogers is sending him out on loan with hope that somebody will come in for Markovic’s contract after a good season in Turkey, he could regret sending the Serbian so far away.
Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero, currently playing for Swansea, is a similar player to Lazar Markovic, and Montero even lacks some of Markovic’s ability to play as a second striker. If Markovic was loaned to another Premier League side, or even a side in somewhere like Germany, he would begin to gain that confidence against top class defenders.
Rogers has a wonder kid on his hands, and he would regret it if Markovic was shipped away from Merseyside after one full season. Foreign players like that who come to the Premier League while they are young need time to adjust to the culture – Markovic needs that.