There were rumours. Rumours that Lazar Markovic had been a signing pushed by the transfer committee and that Brendan Rodgers didn’t particularly rate the talented youngster. With the player regularly subbed off early, even when he was far from the worst players on the pitch—sometimes even when he was one of the best—it was easy to understand why.
There were even rumours the manager’s opinion of him was so low that, if Rodgers had his way, Markovic would be shipped straight back out this summer. Those rumours now have a little more life to them with talk in Portugal that Markovic could end up back at Benfica before the window closes. Portugal’s A Bola claim that the side that lost him to Liverpool last summer want him back. And think a deal can be done.
While Portuguese clubs are often seen as sellers to those in Europe’s bigger leagues, and many have built their business model on doing just that, Benfica had little say in the manner of Markovic’s departure as Liverpool triggered his release clause. If they had had their way, they would have kept the young Serbian around for at least another season or three before looking to turn a profit on his sale.
If the rumours are true, they could get their wish. It is considered unlikely that it would be a permanent move—having cost Liverpool £20M last summer, he’s simply too pricy for Benfica—but the Portuguese club consider a loan to be a genuine possibility and are currently talking with Liverpool about the possibilities. If such a deal were to happen, it would be a further repudiation of last summer’s transfer dealings.
It would also be a clear sign that Rodgers has more than just the grudging backing of Liverpool’s owners. It would signal he has very robust support from them and has wrested full control of transfers and that any talk of the arrival of a Director of Football should be shelved. It would leave many fans scratching their heads, and some would find themselves further disillusioned with Rodgers’ leadership.
Markovic didn’t set the Premier League alight last season, but his management was questionable—both the positions and ever changing roles he was asked to play as well as the manner in which Rodgers at times seemed to be singling him out as a scapegoat when things didn’t go well anywhere on the pitch. He remains a world class talent, even if Liverpool paid a high price to get him in early.
Shipping him back to Benfica this summer would be a terrible decision, particularly when the club appear stuck shopping in the bargain bin so far this summer. Given the way Markovic was so often hooked at the half when he’d done nothing to warrant it, though, if Rodgers is sticking around there’s something fitting to the possibility of Markovic’s time at the club being over so quickly.