Serbia boss Ljubinko Drulovic is excited by the prospect of Lazar Markovic joining Liverpool and believes the youngster can become a "major player" during his time at Anfield.
Speaking ahead of the Benfica winger's proposed £19.8 million move, Drulovic indicates the switch to England will be beneficial for Markovic's development, reported by Liam Prenderville of the Mirror:
Markovic made an excellent season at Benfica last year, he evolved a lot. It'll be good for him and Benfica. Going to a very strong league will help him even more to become a major player worldwide.
He's 20 years old and has a long time to play. Markovic could prove to become a very important player in Europe.
Markovic's breakout season at the Estadio da Luz saw him contribute on either flank for the Portuguese side. His energy, ambition and confidence impressed across 26 Liga Sagres games, which saw him score five goals, per WhoScored.com.
Perhaps vitally for Liverpool's upcoming campaign, he possesses Champions League experience and was part of the squad that reached the 2013-14 Europa League final. Despite a disappointing result, Markovic proved he can compete with the best across both competitions.
When assessing the player for the Liverpool Echo, James Pearce pinpoints the Serbian's boundless energy, citing an individual who has "earned rave reviews for his tireless work ethic – something which will be crucial at Anfield as (Brendan) Rodgers demands that his side press relentlessly to win back possession."
This will be key to Markovic's success. Both Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool crowd expect their players to work doggedly, something that has been instilled into many of the squad by the Northern Irish boss. Players such as Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, although limited in size, track their man and chase the ball down whenever possible. Markovic naturally does the same.
His ability to play as a No.10 may also have nudged Rodgers into securing a deal. The boss loves options throughout his squad and is always open to mixing his tactics up. His use of Sterling through the centre last season almost thrust Liverpool toward the title, but with Markovic joining the Englishman and Adam Lallana across the attacking line, he has a trio of players who can play in at least three positions each.
It's easy to see why Drulovic wants his international player to join up with the Merseyside club. Rodgers takes care of his players and meticulously works out how he can improve the game of each. With Markovic's natural exuberance and confidence already highlighted during his spell in Portugal, he can now push on to become a truly world-class player. This means only good things for the Serbian national team, who are aiming to qualify for Euro 2016.
Markovic shouldn't be compared to the reportedly outgoing Luis Suarez, per David Kent of the Daily Mail, as this would heap far too much pressure on a player who isn't a prolific goalscorer. He should, however, be considered an addition who represents the onset of a new era. Someone who, alongside signings Rickie Lambert, Emre Can and Lallana, can prove to Reds followers there is life after the Uruguayan star.
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