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Lazar Markovic's Shaky Liverpool Start Nothing to Worry About

Jamie McDonald

20-year-old Lazar Markovic made a positive impression on his Liverpool debut against Manchester City, but since then has struggled to make much of an impact. His issues on the pitch have been more technical than physical, which means that given enough time he should improve.

Markovic v Basel

The above graphic displays all of the passes Markovic received in Liverpool's Champions League loss to Basel. Pass received charts illustrate the types of runs that a player makes, and from this chart we can see that Markovic's movement against Basel was good -- he looked to find space out wide to utilize his pace and had two scoring chances resulting from incisive runs into the box. But once he received passes in these positions he was unable to capitalize. He couldn't convert either scoring chance and passed with 50% accuracy in the final third.

Furthermore, he gave away the ball too often when trying to dribble past players, which is surprising because that area of his game had been considered a major strength at Benfica. It was such a noticeable and unexpected issue against Basel that it's hard to think that the performance represented anything close to his actual ability.

It's hard to compare Markovic's statistics with his numbers in Portugal because of the lack of available stat collection databases from Primeira Liga, but nonetheless it's safe to assume that his performance so far in the Premier League is nowhere near what it was for Benfica.

He's aware of that, and in recent quotes from Mondo (via BBC) he discussed his adjustment process.

"You know how things go in football. I'm getting there and adjusting well.

"It will take a little more time but, all in all, I feel okay.

"I feel great there and everybody has been great with me. I could not wish for more. I'm happy and that is the most important thing.

"My team-mate is the legendary Steven Gerrard, the fans love me and Anfield is great but, as I said, I just need a little bit more time."

Lazar Markovic is only 20. He has plenty of time to set Anfield alight; for now though we must satisfy ourselves with small glimpses of what he might become - electric movement, blinding pace, and supreme confidence set a foundation out of which a star might just emerge.