Portugal-based journalist: Markovic is 'a Sterling with better technique and pace'

Reports gather pace that Benfica's Lazar Markovic will soon become a Liverpool player.

Portugal's O Jogo newspaper seemed to have started the cycle that has now been continued by the Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph, Sky Sports and more, with a figure of £22 million or more quoted on each occasion.

Indeed, the widespread nature of the reports suggest a deal for the Serbian could be nearing confirmation.

And one journalist who watched Markovic on a regular basis last season, Jan Hagen, has claimed that Liverpool are 'really, really lucky' to be getting the 20-year-old for around that price.

According to Hagen, the Benfica winger is better than Raheem Sterling.

The claim may be somewhat hyperbolic, of course, while Sterling is several months Markovic's junior so could be a better player by his age.

But if the Reds are getting a player with more talent than Sterling, they're in luck, as the 19-year-old was simply sensational last season.

  TeamPosGoalsAssistsDribbles WonAccurate CrossesSuccessful Final-Third PassesAppsMins
Raheem Sterling Liverpool FW 9 5 92 10 332 33 2,218

As Opta stats show, Sterling scored nine times and registered five assists in the Premier League last season, while also making 10 accurate crosses.

It was his dribbling that was most impressive, however, with the forward winning 92 duels on the ball. He also averaged roughly 10 successful final-third passes an appearance.

Markovic scored five times in the Portuguese league last season but registered no assists. Should his talent prove up to its billing, though, Liverpool fans will surely be excited by the prospect of two such devastating wingers creating chances (and converting them) game after game.

And should Luis Suarez leave Anfield, a Markovic-type player looks as though he will be the perfect reinforcement to make up for the creativity in the final third Suarez would have provided. His European experience, meanwhile, both in the Champions League and Europa League last season, should serve him well for the coming campaign at Anfield.

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