Liverpool have been rumoured with a possible move for Benfica attacker Lazar Markovic after their Chief scout Barry Hunter witnessed him play for Serbia this past week. The Serbian has been turning heads ever since his move to the Portuguese giants in the summer, and now the Reds are looking to pounce on the 20-year old. Moreover, it is a well know fact that Chelsea are behind the youngster for a long time now and reports from Independent say that the Blues are once again considering a move for the Benfica midfielder.
Markovic became a regular since his debut for the Serbian side in May 2011 and has even made his debut for the national side. He made 55 appearances for Partizan, scoring 19 goals and providing 16 assists in the process. By the time he moved to Lisbon, he had already established himself as an integral part of the Partizan side.
Since his move to Lisbon, Markovic has made 30 appearances for Benfica in all competitions and has scored 7 goals and provided 2 assists. One of those 7 goals came in the 3-0 home win over PAOK in the Europa League a couple of weeks back when he scored after coming on as a second half substitute.
Markovic’s greatest strength is his pace and he is one of the fastest players that has played in Serbian league in the last few years. He showed this at the continental stage against Inter Milan in a Europa League game where his counter attacking runs left Inter’s defense confused. Even though he is fast with the ball, he is most dangerous when given the ball in space.
Even though he is capable of playing anywhere across the front line, be it central or on the wings, his versatility has been somewhat of a problem for him rather than a benefit. He has failed to find himself that one role where he is most effective and coaches have always moved him around to use him as they see fit.
However, he is perhaps the most effective when deployed as a support striker on the right where he can use his pace to have a go at defenders. Playing between the lines allows him the space to make his mark upon the game and with defenders having to double up to cover him due to his superb ball control and dribbling at pace, it provides the opportunity for other midfielders to make dangerous runs into the box.
Even though Markovic often finds himself in dangerous areas in the opposition penalty area, his finishing lets him down to a great extent and as a result his scoring record is not as outstanding as it could have been. In fact, his goal return is much poorer in Portugal than it had been in Serbian, and this will be a worrying fact for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers when he will look to include Markovic in his plans.
Overall, he would certainly be a good investment for the future if Liverpool do decide to buy him in the summer. However, given the priorities that Liverpool currently have – focusing on players who can add immediate value to the team since they do have a nice crop of young players coming through – they would perhaps be better off diverting their attention towards other targets where the money would provide better immediate returns.
All stats courtesy transfermarkt.co.uk
Scouting Lazar Markovic (Video)