Football

Markovic was tipped for big things prior to his Liverpool move..

Lazar Markovic can be Jurgen Klopp's answer to a lack of wingers at Liverpool

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Since Jurgen Klopp took the reins from Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool in October, he's had to settle with the resources that were left to him.

The January transfer window looked an opportunity for the German to bolster his squad yet he was reluctant to play his hand.

Klopp will have a good idea of which areas he needs to strengthen but seemingly wants a full pre-season with new recruits to develop his philosophy. He'll be carefully keeping watch of both his own team and players from across the continent for the remainder of this campaign in preparation.

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Prior to the Reds' clash against FC Augsburg in the first leg of the Europa League last 32 on February 18, the 48-year-old admitted he lacked natural wide men.

"We have enough strikers – five with Roberto (Firmino) – but not too many wingers, just a few young ones with great potential," he said, as per the Liverpool Echo.

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In Klopp's stable squad, only Jordon Ibe offers him a ready-made option out wide. James Milner has filled the void on occasions but is far more effective in a central midfield role.

The ex-Borussia Dortmund manager will be desperate to add another string to his bow. The Reds have some excellent flair players, including Philippe Coutinho and Firmino through the middle, but a shortage of natural wingers means Liverpool are forced to play through the middle.

There may already be a few names in Klopp's notebook to pursue during the summer transfer window, but he'll also be well aware of the resources he already possesses.

Of those is a £20 million youngster who arrived at Anfield in 2014.

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Lazar Markovic was a name not many Kopites had heard of when he joined from Benfica. He was part of Rodgers' plans to forge a squad that had both the depth and quality to cope with the loss of Luis Suarez and the demands of the Champions League.

The 20-year-old's maiden season on Merseyside wasn't the most inspiring, though, and he failed to make a similar impact that saw Benfica capture a domestic treble and reach the final of the Europa League the season prior.

As a result, just one year later, Markovic was sent out on loan to Fenerbahce to earn first-team experience.

It was a move that confused many - the former Partizan winger had already clocked up plenty of minutes in Portugal and sending him to Turkey meant he'd yet again have to learn the tricks of a new league.

FBL-TUR-FENERBAHCE-GALATASARAY

Markovic may not have made the same instant impact as the likes as Fernando Torres and Suarez did on Merseyside, but he wasn't exactly given a fair crack of the whip.

Since his loan move, the youngster has adapted and improved considerably, steering his side to the summit of the Turkish Super League.

Markovic seems the type of player who's at his best when given the license to surge forward and play a free role, fitting perfectly into Klopp's 'heavy metal' style football.

He'll have to press the opposition as much as anyone else in the team upon his eventual return, but when Liverpool are in possession, Klopp would likely give Markovic free rein on the charge forward.

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Liverpool have been largely criticised this season for being unable to break defences down, especially at home, scoring just 38 Premier League goals thus far. Opposing managers are aware of the lack of width the Reds possess and force their attacks to be narrow and predictable as a result, which are easier to break down.

Having sufficient wide men available would mean Klopp's side could attack in a variety of ways, leaving opponents second-guessing which wave of attack is coming next.

Klopp will want to bring in more than one, but he already has an ideal candidate in Markovic.

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Liverpool
Football
Steven Gerrard

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