Liverpool Transfer News: Lazar Markovic Would Give Reds Great Options

Tristan BarclayContributor IApril 8, 2014

LISBON, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Lazar Markovic of SL Benfica in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between SL Benfica and RSC Anderlecht held on September 17, 2013 at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Henriques Da Cunha/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Liverpool are set to hijack Chelsea's attempts to sign Benfica winger Lazar Markovic as manager Brendan Rodgers looks to strengthen his attacking options.

Markovic has long been a target of Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, per The Guardian, but it looks as if Liverpool are confident their strong performances in the Premier League will be enough to turn the 20-year-old Serbian's head.

James Boylan of Metro reports that, should Liverpool manage to win the league, they might have a chance of landing their man:

Reports in Portugal suggest Chelsea are in the driving seat for Markovic’s signature, however, if Liverpool do manage to clinch the Premier League title, their pulling power in this and other transfer tug-of-wars should increase significantly.

Boylan also cites a price tag of £20 million, which initially looks a little steep given Markovic's age. However, there is no doubt over Markovic's quality. The youngster has chipped in with six goals in 33 appearances across all competitions, playing primarily on the right flank, per

The question is, would he be a good fit at the Merseyside club? Liverpool are currently blessed with two of the most potent attacking players in the Premier League—Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. Together, the pair have combined for 49 goals in the league this season, per BBC Sport.

Throw into the mix Liverpool's existing options on the wing, which include youngsters Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, and things start looking a little congested in terms of Rodgers' front line.

But Markovic would doubtless be an effective addition. If Liverpool are to launch a new period of long-term success in the Premier League and, whisper it, the Champions League, they are going to need more strength in depth. The Anfield faithful must shudder to think of the prospect of injuries to either Suarez or Sturridge.

Markovic is already highly rated in Portugal, taking the player of the month award for January/February. Not a bad achievement for such a young player:

Markovic's rapid acceleration on the wing would enhance Liverpool's already devastating counter-attacking capabilities. As the Daily Mail's Jonny Singer notes, the Serbian can operate in a fluid system, perhaps turning the Suarez-Sturridge duo into a trio of forwards:

"Markovic can play up front, and he has a decent goalscoring record, but predominately he's a wide player, though he can also play in the hole."

The Kop will have to wait until the summer transfer window opens to see if Rodgers can snatch Markovic from Chelsea's grasp. If he manages to do so, it will send a signal to the rest of the Premier League that Liverpool are serious contenders for next season's title.