That 45-odd minutes we got to see from Lazar Markovic against Olympiacos during the preseason was enough to leave us wanting more, but a tendon injury that gave way to a hamstring problem (or just the same thing for three or four weeks) meant his participation ended at the break in Chicago. It was enough to rule him out of the Premier League opener against Southampton as well, but another week's worth of treatment and training means that he'll be ready for the trip to Manchester City.
It would be understandable if he had some reservations about how he'll adjust to his new surroundings, or how his new club with compete in what promises to be a challenging season in the Premier League, or how he'll be able to communicate clearly with the notoriously challenging and dramatic British media. But as it turns out, he's not really concerned about any of those things:
"I was lucky enough to play in Serbia and play in Portugal but although Liverpool is different I have experienced a lot so young and obviously that has given me confidence. Firstly, it is one of the best clubs in the world. Secondly, it is one of the best leagues in the world and, thirdly, Liverpool are superior and the strongest team, in my opinion, in England. I am excited - I love good players and want to play with good players. We are all competent and good enough to win the title. It's the confidence that I feel.
"I watched Liverpool - I watched every one of their games last season because I love the Premier League. Their style of football is one of the main reasons why I came here. Last season, only bad luck played a part in the outcome: Liverpool were the best team."
If only he had the self-belief to be successful! It's a significant change in sentiment from players joining this summer compared to seasons past; prior to this summer all the talk has been about helping the club recapture previous glory, restore its pride, not end up on the brink of administration again, etc. Now an interview like Markovic's--even if it's dripping with almost too much self-belief--isn't compltely delusional, with the club coming off their best title challenge in the Premier League era and back in the Champions League for the first time in over four seasons.
To stay there, they're going to need the likes of Markovic and company not only to believe that they belong, but to prove as much on a consistent basis. Monday's as good a time as any to start.
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