Serbian Lazar Markovic was the fourth major signing of the summer of 2014 following on from Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Emre Can. Despite having only passed his 20th birthday as recently as March, Marković already had valuable experience of the Champions League having played in five of Benfica’s six group games in the 2013/14 season and then playing a part in all eight of the Portuguese club’s matches after they dropped down into the Europa League. However he missed the final in Turin after being sent off in the latter stages of the semi final.
Marković was born in the town of Čačak only a couple of years after Yugoslavia had been broken up into different countries, one of which was Serbia. As a youngster Markovic was connected to a club in the town of his birth, Borac Čačak, but as his teenage years approached he moved on to the Partizan club in the capital. Partizan nurtured him carefully but he made swift progress through the club’s junior ranks until he was given his first-team debut as a 17-year-old in the final match of the 2010/11 season. By the end of the following season he had been appearing regularly in the Serbian SuperLiga helping his club to retain the domestic championship they had won in 2011 and then win it again in 2013.
In the summer of 2013 Marković, normally described as a winger but who can cope competently being part of any forward formation, was heavily linked with Chelsea with the rumour being that he would be loaned out to Benfica. Concerned that they might only be able to use his talents for a limited period Benfica immediately moved to sign the player up for five years, but just twelve months later they were unable to turn down Liverpool's £20 million bid. In his one season there, Markovic had added a Portuguese title to the two he had won in Serbia.
Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant, who managed Markovic at Partizan, said of the player: “I can say that apart from Ronaldo and Messi, Markovic is one of the best talents I’ve ever seen at 19 years of age. It was excellent playing with this kid for six months. He has such massive potential that if he changed his attitude in training he could be one of Europe’s best players in his position. But he’s young, he’ll mature, and then nobody will be able to stop him.”
Markovic made nineteen Premier League appearances for Liverpool in 2014/15 and also played in fifteen cup-ties. But, perhaps significantly, he only played from the start in a dozen matches after New Year. The low point of his season came when he received a red card for raising his hands in the Champions League match against Basel at Anfield in December only 15 minutes after he had come on as a substitute at the start of the second half. Markovic was loaned to Fenerbache for the whole of the 2015/16 season to gain experience, without an option for the Turkish side to purchase him. After appearing fourteen times in the first half of the season, a hamstring injury ruled him out from February onwards. On the last day of the summer transfer window in 2016 Markovic joined Sporting Lisbon on a season-long loan. After just two league starts this agreement was cancelled by mutual consent on 23rd January 2017 and Markovic was back in the Premiership, joining relegation threatened Hull City on loan for the rest of the season. He had an upturn in form there, but any chance of a permanent move was scuppered as the Tigers were relegated.
With no club willing to meet Liverpool's £16 million valuation or pay a loan fee, Markovic remained at Anfield for the first half of 2017-18. Apart from being an unused substitute in a League Cup tie at Leicester, he did not feature in any other matchday squad. In January 2018 he joined Anderlecht on loan where his fitness was immediately deemed an issue. Towards the end of the season he did feature more but after a total of eight appearances both clubs were miles apart in any valuation. He featured in some pre season games in 2018-19 while players on World Cup duty had an extended break, but the door to a return to the first team fold was firmly shut as he entered the final year of his contract. His time at Liverpool finally came to an end on transfer deadline day in January 2019 when he joined Fulham on a short term deal. He played just 45 minutes of football at Craven Cottage, his one appearance as a second half substitute. It was no surprise when he was not offered an extension at the end of the season.