Lazar Markovic was compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but Liverpool transfer proved disastrous as Reds go back to Benifca for Darwin Nunez June 9, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
So, Liverpool are heading back to Benfica in search of the next big thing.
With 32 league goals in 57 appearances for the Portuguese giants, it is difficult to see anything but a bright future for the Uruguayan star.
These days, the Reds only make quality signings, with forwards Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz both crown jewels in their recent transfer policy.
But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, last time Liverpool signed an attacking player from Benfica, it turned out to be one of the worst signings in the club’s history.
Lazar Markovic, remember him? He’s not finished, he’s only 28… but he certainly did not live up to expectation at Anfield.
Back in 2014, the Reds fended off competition from Chelsea to sign the up-and-coming teenager, who had built quite the reputation across Europe and cost a hefty £20m.
Markovic told fans his target was to win the Premier League in his first campaign. “I watched every game [of Liverpool’s last season, from Portugal] and they played absolutely superb,” he said at the time.
“It is a shame they did not win the title – but I hope we will win it this season. I went to Partizan and won the title. I went to Benfica and won the title. Now I have joined Liverpool and want to win the title, 100 per cent.”
Ex-Blues boss Avram Grant, who managed Markovic at Partizan Belgrade, said at the time: “I can say that apart from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, Markovic is one of the best talents I’ve ever seen at 19 years of age.
“It was excellent playing with this kid for six months. He has such massive potential that if he changed his attitude in training he could be one of Europe’s best players in his position.
“But he’s young, he’ll mature, and then nobody will be able to stop him.”
Spoiler alert: people were able to stop him. Markovic made 19 Premier League appearances for the Reds, netting two goals, and that was it.
The low light of an infamous spell came during a Champions League clash with FC Basel, which saw the Serbian sent off just 14 minutes after coming on.
Liverpool, unable to recover any of the cash they forked out for Markovic, were forced to hold onto him until 2019, despite using him in just one matchday squad after the 2014/15 season.
He was loaned out to Fenerbahce, Sporting Lisbon, Hull and Anderlecht but made a grand total of 40 league appearances across those spells, scoring four times.
Nowadays, a player once compared to Messi and Ronaldo, who ought to be in the prime of his career, is back where it all started at Patizan.
It’s not quite the Chelsea no.9 curse, but Nunez will have some history to overcome if he joins Liverpool from Benfica.
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