Liverpool signed Lazar Markovic from Benfica this summer for a £20million fee and it was immediately hailed as a canny piece of business from those who had seen the Serbian player blossom in recent times.
The only problem with signing a player for such a fee is the immediate expectation that comes with it. For £20million, Liverpool fans would have been forgiven for thinking they had bought an immediate solution, rather than a star in the making.
In truth Brendan Rodgers has bought the latter but here are three reasons why Markovic will ultimately succeed at Anfield:
Markovic is a wonderfully gifted footballer whose innate talent shines through when he is confident on the pitch and allowed to do what he does best.
At Benfica there was no real pressure on him at the start of last season, and he was often sent on from the bench in the latter stages. That allowed him to play his game with less expectation and the Portuguese side was rewarded with some excellent performances.
Over time he eased himself into the first-team and started the majority of games in the second half of the campaign. The same should happen at Liverpool if they want to get the best out of him.
With time comes experience
It is worth noting that Markovic is only 20 and that he has recently moved to a new country where the focus on him has never been stronger. That is the problem when a player warrants a considerable outlay; Markovic did not pick his price-tag and yet now he is burdened with it.
If Liverpool – and their fans – are patient with the player, in time he will become what they paid for.
The Liverpool way
There are few better clubs at which a young player can learn than Liverpool, and Markovic will have known that when he agreed to the move this summer.
It is telling that while Chelsea reportedly had first-refusal on the player he ultimately signed for a club where young players are regularly given chances in the first-team. It is also worth noting that Raheem Sterling took time to get used to regular first-team football and even now he is far from the finished article.
So why should Markovic be any different, given that he is only a year older and getting used to a new club and a new country?