Lazar Markovic has become an integral part of the Liverpool squad in recent months…
It took time for Lazar Markovic to adapt to life at Liverpool, following his £20m summer move from Benfica, but like a number of Reds stars, the Serbian has benefited from the continued faith of manager Brendan Rodgers.
Markovic isn’t 21 until Monday, but his price tag ensured that expectations were sky high when the youngster arrived at Anfield last year. After a slow start, he found a new lease of life playing as a wing-back, in Rodgers’ new-look 3-4-3 formation.
Speaking to our official website, he said: “At Partizan, I was a winger or sometimes a No.10. At Benfica I was a winger. With the national team it is the same.
“In Serbia, people do not recognise me for my defensive qualities. Sometimes you have to move away from what is comfortable to regain something in your game. I have approached my career in this way. Different is good.”
The whole squad had to adjust to such a massive overhaul from the boss, but few did so quite as effectively as Markovic, who instantly looked more at home playing out on the flank.
His versatility has proved key to Rodgers, who has been able to deploy Markovic on both the right and left-hand side, as well as in a more central role in the front three, playing just off a central striker.
Markovic has already made 19 starts so far this season, scoring three goals – against AFC Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup, and against Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League – and revealed that he never had any doubts about joining us last summer.
“I watch a lot of football on television and last season Liverpool were the best team in the Premier League,” he explained. “Liverpool were close to being champions. The football played was really exciting.
“As soon as Liverpool made the offer I made it clear that I wanted to come here and the deal was settled quite easily. The manager wants the team to attack and score goals. This is the football I like most.
“When I left Benfica last summer, Filip moved to Mallorca in Spain. It is the first time we have been apart in many years, so this experience in Liverpool is different. But we are growing up now. I still speak to him most days. We have the confidence to be apart.”