Rodgers highlights one of Markovic's best - and less-observed - qualities

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Liverpool's 20-year-old forward starred at Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.

Lazar Markovic was brought to Liverpool for his ability on the ball.

The Reds forked out a heavy sum for the 20-year-old in the summer and, in recent weeks, he has begun to show glimpses of why.

The Serb is an excellent dribbler on his day and is starting to show that he does have a bit of pace to burn.

But Brendan Rodgers was equally impressed by another of Markovic's qualities on Saturday afternoon. The forward scored Liverpool's winner during a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light but it was his effort off the ball that the boss highlighted after the game.

"[Markovic] was fantastic - not just with the ball in his goal and the one that hit the crossbar but his ability to press people and defend, which is important for us. He is only 20 years of age, so there's a big future for him," the Northern Irishman told reporters, as quoted as saying by Liverpool's official website.

  Tackles WonMinutes Played
Lazar Markovic 4 90
Lucas Leiva 4 90
Philippe Coutinho 3 90

And, as Opta stats show, Rodgers' analysis is fully justified.

Indeed, Markovic was not just Liverpool's second-best dribbler on the day (Philippe Coutinho edged him in that department), the 20-year-old was also his side's joint-best tackler.

The statistic is a remarkable one when you consider Markovic's job description going forward essentially being to cause problems with the ball. Off the ball, of course, Rodgers is a big fan of high pressing - and the Serb is certainly delivering in that regard at present.

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