As the Reds limped to a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Norwich, Markovic made his home debut for Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig. The Serbian starlet signed for Liverpool last season for £20million, and arrived at Anfield with a big reputation. At just 21 Markovic’s career is just beginning, which is perhaps why Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers took the decision to send him out on loan for the season.
Former Chelsea and West Ham manager Avram Grant once described the Serb prior to his move to Merseyside as the most exciting 19 year old since Messi and Ronaldo. Those are clearly big shoes to fill, but Markovic undeniably has great potential. So why has Rodgers allowed him to leave for Turkey?
Markovic’s performances last year were good under the circumstances. As a natural winger he was forced to play as a right-wing-back for the majority of the season. A role that Rodgers used to deploy fellow summer singing Emre Can as well. Fortunately for Can he impressed last year despite being played out of position. The same sadly could not be said for Markovic, who found first team opportunities in his preferred position rare due to the form of Raheem Sterling and the emergence of Jordan Ibe.
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However things have changed at Liverpool this season. Since signing Christian Benteke, the Reds have looked more compact and defensive, occasionally using the big Belgian as an aerial outlet going forward. This acquisition will surely frustrate Anfield reject Andy Carroll who was cast aside for possessing the same qualities as Benteke during Rodgers’ first season in charge.
Without the creative devices of their 2013/14 title charge Liverpool have struggled for goals. With Suarez, Sterling and Gerrard gone, the Merseyside club look short of ideas in attack.
Benteke although not a like for like replacement, has the potential to contribute a similar goal tally to Suarez at Liverpool, if he is used in the right way. Had Sterling stayed at the club then the signing of Benteke would have made more sense. As it stands, with the exception of Jordan Ibe, Liverpool lack a natural winger to provide the crosses Benteke requires.
Maybe Liverpool simply failed to find a replacement for Sterling, which should have allowed Markovic to move up the ranks and into the starting lineup. This was not the case and much to the bemusement of many fans he was sent out on loan. The fact that Fenerbache paid a loan fee for a player supposedly in development, illustrates his immediate value to a top team.
There was one silver lining to Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Norwich and that was Markovic’s sparkling debut for the Turkish side. On the very same day as Liverpool’s stalemate the Serb registered a man of the match performance and capped it off with an assist. For Liverpool’s sake let’s hope Markovic can continue his good form and avoid joining a long list of longhaired Anfield flops.