Brendan Rodgers’ time at Liverpool may not have ended in the greatest of fashions, but there can be no questioning that he played a significant role in helping the Reds make their biggest push for a Premier League title in recent memory – until of course Jurgen Klopp arrived and took it up several levels.
The Northern Irishman was in charge at Anfield for more than three years, and according to figures collected by LFCHistory, brought in 33 players at a total combined cost of £296.5m. The likes of Roberto Firmino and James Milner have no doubt proven themselves to be the biggest successes on Merseyside, helping the Reds to the Champions League last season, and on the verge of Premier League title glory this time around.
But in all that, there was some major duds too. And perhaps none more so than the highly-rated Lazar Markovic.
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The winger arrived in a £20m deal from Portuguese giants Benfica in the summer of 2014, and he certainly arrived with a glowing reputation. The Serbian had just helped his former side to the league title (winning the domestic treble in doing so), and also helped them reach the Europa League final too.
It’s hardly surprising then that Rodgers waxed lyrical about his newest signing after the move was officially confirmed by the club. He said: “Getting him at such a young age is also very pleasing for us, because we will be able to work with him to develop his talent within our group and improve him even further.
“This is an exciting signing for us and one that improves our squad, in terms of attacking options, for the coming season. He was hugely impressive for Benfica last season and has proved he has the ability to produce the goods in European competition as well, which will be important for us.”
But in the end, Markovic spectacularly failed to deliver on those early expectations and hype.
As per Transfermarkt, he made just 34 total appearances for Liverpool’s first-team, scoring just three goals in total, with only two of them coming in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old just failed to settle into life on Merseyside, and couldn’t really make a breakthrough into the side on a consistent basis. Even after Klopp’s arrival as manager, the winger simply couldn’t make it into the team, and the current Reds boss even admitted back in 2017 that they had been looking to offload for him for two consecutive summers.
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The fact Markovic is now back at his first ever club, Partizan Belgrade, just speaks volumes of how his career has taken a dramatic dip since the day Rodgers brought him to Anfield.
From being described as a “rare talent” by European football journalist Andy Brassell after Liverpool’s signing back in 2014, Markovic will surely go down as one of, if not the biggest, transfer disasters of the Rodgers era.