While it’s easy to forget the bulk of EPL players on loan at less popular leagues, there is no denying that some of them have the talents and potentials to return and take the topflight by storm after successful loan terms. Liverpool winger and Serbia international Lazar Marković, belongs to the category of such hopefuls and his performances since going on different away from Anfield upon arriving in hint at this.
The 22-year-old was signed for £20million from Benfica following his mind-blowing performances that helped them to a local treble and a spot in the finals of the Europa League in 2013-14. But as the case is usually with EPL first timers, the then Chelsea-target couldn’t quite hit the ground running, and was sparsely used by Brendan Rodgers. Marković appeared in 19 league games in 2014-15, mostly from the bench and did manage to grab 2 goals.
His performances and inability to hold down a starting berth as quite anticipated meant he would be sent on a season-long loan to Turkish giants Fenerbahçe. While Marković was beginning to settle to new life at Turkey, a hamstring injury in February brought his season to a premature end after just 14 league games.
The Serb youngster was back at Melwood after the unfruitful loan term, but he couldn’t convince new manager Jurgen Klopp of his qualities, as his lack of the physical fitness needed to play the team’s newly-adapted high-octane football stood against him. And off was the club’s 8th most expensive signing in history to another club on a temporary exit.
Back to where his skills and footballing abilities first attracted European giants to him, Marković got loaned to Portuguese Primeira Liga side Sporting Lisbon, where he reunited with his coach at Benfica Jorge Jesus. Here, there seems to have been an upturn in the career of the youngster, and just maybe he would have done enough at the end of the season to justify a permanent recall.
The Serbia international has played 4 league games this term, and has bagged a goal and created 2 chances. While he is still yet to stake down a claim for a permanent starting berth at Sporting, it’s been a gradual rise and return to the top for the pacey wideman, and he will sure earn his stripes in due time due to his current form.
The skillful and versatile forward has recorded a perfect 100% shot accuracy, and averaged an 80% pass accuracy in the Portuguese topflight. Liverpool fans following the Champions League would have seen him in action thrice this season, and despite recording no goals, assists or chances, his attacking quality remains intact as evidence in his average pass accuracy of 76% over the course of the games.
The winger cum midfielder might have only impressed in fits and starts during his short stint with Liverpool, but just maybe he would put in enough consistent brilliance on the pitch to earn that much-needed recall. Klopp has often talked about the club’s want for out-and-out wingers, and he could do with a Lazar Markovic who loves driving at defences soon.