In the not-too-distant past, Lazar Marković put in the kind of performance that made people wonder, if only for a brief moment, whether the young winger might just prove to be of some value to Liverpool Football Club. Facing Arsenal at the Emirates in an ultimately losing effort, Marković proved to be one of the few bright spots for Marco Silva’s Hull City as he showed flashes of the pace and incisiveness that no doubt captivated those Liverpool scouts many moons ago.
At the King Power Stadium, and against a Leicester City side that looked to have regained some confidence in the wake of Claudio Ranieri’s dismissal, Hull City fans got a good look at the Lazar Marković who has frustrated Liverpool supporters for two seasons and counting. There won’t be too many chances left for the winger to make an impression (of the good variety) this season, and Liverpool will have to decide whether to roll the dice for another year or cut their losses.
It was hoped that a run of first team minutes under a manager who appreciates Marković’s gifts might allow the Serbian - still only 23 years of age - to flourish and perhaps re-establish some market value even if he proves surplus to requirements at Anfield. Instead, Marković followed some recent positive performances (interrupted by a brief absence with a training ground knock - another thing Liverpool supporters won’t want to see) with an anonymous outing against Leicester, failing to distress the opponent and generally looking disinterested in his defensive duties.
Marković started the match on the right wing, with Ahmed Elmohamady pulled to the right-back position in order to accommodate. This proved to be a problematic combination, as Christian Fuchs, Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez took turns running past an isolated Elmohamady to terrorize Hull City’s flank. After Sam Clucas gave Hull City an unexpected lead, it was arguably Marković who failed to track an Fuchs’s run, allowing the fullback to equalize for the hosts.
Marković was also involved in Leicester City’s second goal, as a poor clearance allowed Craig Shakespeare’s side to regain possession and feed Mahrez, who conjured up some of his old magic, pulling Hull City defenders this way and that before burying a shot past Jakupovic. On the other end, and once the hosts had established a lead, Marković was unable to put his pace to good use against an organized and compact rearguard, though in his defence, Liverpool have sometimes struggled in that respect as well.
Hull City now have a mere two point advantage over last-placed Sunderland, and have played a match more. It was already very much a fight for survival, but that desperation will now be more keenly felt with Swansea City up next. Inconsistency is not something Marco Silva can afford right now, which means the Lazar Marković experiment may be nearing its end - for Hull City as well as for Liverpool.