After the departure of star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool had to bring in more attacking talent. They'd already landed Southampton duo Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana to boost their forward play, but that was supposed to be on top of Suarez. With the Uruguayan gone, manager Brendan Rodgers made the move to snap up Benfica's Serbian international Markovic, but how does the move to sign the 20-year-old grade out?
Markovic is one of the brightest talents in European football after an impressive first season with Benfica. The former Partizan Belgrade man is known for his blazing speed and direct running style, and those will be qualities that Rodgers can harness across from Raheem Sterling in the Liverpool attack. Aged just 20, Markovic already has 12 caps for Serbia and is considered to be the star of the future for them, and his performances in the Europa League only enhanced that view. He ended up in the Europa League squad of the season as Benfica made it to the final, and his pace made him a constant menace to defences. Markovic has bags of potential and in an exciting, vibrant and expressive environment such as Anfield, he could be come one of the most dangerous players in Europe - he just needs to refine some aspects of his game and become more consistent in some areas. This is definitely a signing with one eye on the future, and with the flashes of brilliance that Markovic has already shown, he could be a star on Merseyside for years to come.
Markovic is still very, very raw. He's just one year removed from playing in Serbia and whilst he coped well with the step up to Portuguese football, he must seek to improve his end product. He often makes dazzling runs forward with the ball but has proven to be wasteful from both crossing and goalscoring situations. He can also stand to find different ways of beating players rather than beating them purely with pace, just to become a more well-rounded player. Many Serbian players have struggled in England, such as Mateja Kezman, Nikola Zigic and Zoran Tosic, so Rodgers will be hoping that he can be a long-term star like Nemanja Vidic was for Manchester United, rather than fade into obscurity like some of his compatriots. This signing is almost entirely based on Markovic's huge potential, but £25m is a massive risk, especially given that he only played 26 games for Benfica last season. Markovic needs to be given time to acclimatise to English football given that it's his second big move in 12 months, but with fans wanting to see a replacement for Suarez, expectations could be high - particularly because of that price tag.
This is a really risky move from Liverpool. £25m is a huge amount of money to be paying for a player who is so raw, and expectation will be high because he's being bought with the Suarez money - just like they were for Erik Lamela upon replacing Gareth Bale at Tottenham Hotspur last summer. Playing under Rodgers appears to be a good fit for Markovic given his pace in attack, and if the Serbian can reach his potential, then this is a superb signing. However, at this point, we simply don't know what Markovic is going to be. His first season could be tough, but given time and patience, Markovic could live up to the huge price tag.