Dave Davis highlights the importance for Lazar Markovic to grab his opportunity at Liverpool with both hands.
When the line up was announced for the game against Tranmere, most Reds were rightly ecstatic that they would get to see Sadio Mané, Jöel Matip and Loris Karius make their debuts so early on in their Liverpool careers. A notable absentee from the starting line-up was Lazar Markovic, who saw young Ryan Kent start on the wing instead. While he’ll no doubt get minutes and a chance to prove himself, the Serb may be under more pressure than he realises.
After a mixed first season since arriving from Benfica for a £20 million fee, Markovic found himself shipped out to Fenerbache last season. An injury restricted season saw the 22 year old winger notch 2 goals and 3 assists in 21 appearances. Not exactly stats to write home about. Many Reds’ fans believe that could be the end of his spell at Anfield, however in February it seemed certain that Markovic would return when the Fenerbache president confirmed Liverpool wouldn’t sell him ‘even for £20 million’.
Klopp demonstrated last season that he likes to work with and assess players before making any decisions, so Markovic should get opportunities to prove himself. On the other hand, the ruthlessness that he showed at the end of his first season at Dortmund (17 players shipped out) appears to be fully in tact. With a £15 million bid from Bournemouth having been accepted, Jordon Ibe may soon find himself potentially joining Christian Benteke, Martin Skrtel, Lucas and Joe Allen through the exit door at Anfield. Chances may be given but ability and maximum effort are a must.
Markovic himself must be wondering where he will get game time in a season without European competition. In Klopp’s favoured 4-2-3-1, he could be competing with up to 7 or 8 others for a front four position. Sadio Mané hasn’t been bought for £30 million to sit on the bench and Coutinho seems the favoured option on the left side. Two to three more new faces are expected at Melwood before the new season begins so Lazar could find himself under even more pressure.
Chances may be given but Markovic will need to grasp them with both hands.