13 Mar 2015

Lawro warns: 'Frightened' £20m LFC star must do 'better' as he 'never really commits a defender'

after only 3 goals/1 assist in 33 games this season, the jury is still very much out on £20m summer signing Lazar Markovic, and Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson has advanced a theory as to why the Serb is struggling to make a consistent impact at Anfield.

Discussing Markovic's performances for Liverpool, Lawro told BBC Radio Five Live:

"Lazar Markovic has got lots of ability but he never really commits a defender.

"He is frightened to lose the ball sometimes [and] he [can do] better than that in all honesty."


At Benfica, dribbling was one of the defining features of Markovic's game, but at Liverpool, he appears reluctant to try and beat players, which suggests a lack of confidence.

Anyone who's played the game to a decent level will know that lacking self-confidence on the field can have a detrimental impact on performance. Reticence and hesitation on the ball is swiftly followed by a fear of taking risks, and an aversion to taking proactive responsibility on the field.

Then, when that fear really takes hold, getting rid of the ball quickly and/or shooting becomes preferable to having to actually take someone on, and that sums up Markovic to a tee.

There were several instances of this against Blackburn last Sunday, including one specific incident in the second half: Markovic received the ball just outside the opposition box, and in a one-on-one situation, he (weakly) shot straight at the keeper instead of trying to take on the defender and make something happen.

As a comparison, consider Jordon Ibe's approach: Whenever he gets the ball, the youngster's first thought is to attack the opposition and dribble past whoever is in his way. Yes, he may lose the ball sometimes, but that's the (calculated) risk that attacking players make, and in many cases, it leads to positive situations.

Bottom line: Ibe takes responsibility; Markovic shirks it, and if he continues to do that, he may end up being permanently usurped in the first team. Maybe it's just typical first-season settling-in issues, but Ibe is a serious threat to Markovic's first-team chances, so it's in his best interests to step things up sooner rather than later.

In October, Liverpool legend John Aldridge delivered the following withering assessment of Markovic:

"Markovic must do a whole lot better. This kid came with a big reputation, but he has looked out of his depth at Liverpool so far this season. You can’t afford to be carrying players and Markovic is a passenger".

In all seriousness, has anything changed over the last five months?

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70 comments:

  1. Everyone talks about his potential but I can't see it I really can't I feel as though I'm missing something, he quick but not outrageously so and he's not particularly skilful, his final ball and shooting is terrible, if he cost us a million pound rather than twenty I doubt everyone would be talking about his potential

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  2. For me when people that have potential they have to make think wow every now and then whilst there young but not once have I seen anything slightly impressive and he's scared of his own shadow

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  3. can't see anything special about him either...

    he's looking so clumsy when he's in possession

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  4. Do you know what happens if for instance Wolfsburg wins Europa and finishes third in the German league, which is likely enough?

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  5. I have to agree with you Jakef.
    I don't like getting on players' backs and I really hope he proves me wrong. Many pundits say he is extremely gifted , skillful and technically good etc. For me he seems very one dimensional, he tends to run in a straight line at speed. He does not twist, jink or weave, he can't beat a man from a standing start with skilful moves i.e. step-overs etc. His shooting and passing is not very accurate. Like I say he is young and will hopefully come good but I would have thought a few glimpses of magic would have been shown by now.

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  6. Jordan Ibe looked far better at wingback.Fast and direct with the skills needed to take on the opposition.He was arguably in our top 3 best players on the pitch every time he played.
    Teams were so fearful of him.They doubled up on Ibe because he's so dangerous one on one.
    What team has put two players on Lazar Markovic? Answers on a postcard... You won't need a pen:)
    Markovic is a quick player with basic take on skills! Nice flicks but not enough skill to dribble past players with the ball.His style is to knock it into space then run after it like a greyhound chasing a hare/rabbit.
    He easily drifts out of games too.Never rated Lazar Markovic highly.Now some are starting to see why.

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  7. Nope I like him. I think he does a good job at the defensive side of being a wing back but agree he seems to lack confidence at times going forward.


    He is skilful has good control and is generally a good passer of the ball. Remember that chip pass to Lallana? That is the sign of top quality potential and he has youth on his side.


    Not fair to compare him directly with Ibe who has had a "nothing to lose" type of introduction to the first team though I agree Ibe has been, well, "outstanding".

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  8. too soon!this players are developing...nowadays I find Liverpool fans and especially Legends unfairly critical(remember Grobbelaar Grobelar on Mignolet and Lawro on Balloteli) I choose to give players adequate time a la Allen and Henderson...they ussually come through.

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  9. Right from the start you could see that Markovic was very disciplined and careful. I felt immediately that here was a player doing exactly what the manager tells him to do, to his own detriment. It's like he's been so keen to please the manager, fill the role in the correct way and get his duties right, make no mistakes, that he's unable to fully express his talents with the football. But if he's going to start of making mistakes in a football team I'd rather he make mistakes doing the right thing and not put his team in a bad position with poor passes, losing possession or just outright stupidity. It shows a degree of humility, despite what is obvious confidence he has in himself. If shows he's willing to learn and listen to the manager, work for his team mates and not let anyone down. It's the right attitude to have rather than simply be reckless and cavalier. It's a positive journey for him from here to slowly build his on-field confidence and find a way to express his natural game. It would be far more challenging for him if he was to produce a series of poor games that cost the team goals and results and saw him dumped to the bench for damaging errors.


    Clearly Markovic has a way to go. He seems a player who doesn't really know his place in the side and that doesn't surprise me. In fact this is almost exactly the kind of season I expected from him. He's in a new country, a tougher league and he's still really just a kid. Some kids like Sterling and Ibe just happen to have instincts that suit the team and they hit the ground running. Lucky for them. Markovic is going to have to work harder and hopefully Rodgers can find a way to get him to strike the right balance. He will have to continue to work hard and know when it's not the right time to take a risk, his team needs that and it's fundamental to the Rodgers philosophy. Learning when it IS the right time to take a risk and back himself ... that's the trick. He has the skills and the pace to do it, it's a mental game for him now.

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  10. My biggest concern with both him and Sterling is that in spite of the speed, they need a running start to get by players. It doesn't seem like they do well with quickness and trying to beat a player one on one unless they are running down the sideline (which a defender is more or less letting them do).


    Also, Sterling can't shoot (I'm pretty sure he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat), and Markovic tries too many acrobatic shots.

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  11. I remember the running inch perfect pass through the middle to a galloping Sturridge in the 1st Man City match. Sturridge's effort was blocked but the pass was absolutely superb.

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  12. I think perhaps go back and look at highlight packages from his time in Portugal. What you see is a player who runs at the opposition at great pace and actually does have quite good control. He's very direct and that serves a team well on the break. United used to do it for years ... play a careful holding game and then hit you on the break with no more than 3 players at at time. Rooney, Giggs and someone like Nani or Valencia. The key was they hit you fast and they were up the pitch in 2 passes running directly at you. No one had any fixed position, they just burst forward and left defenders for dead. Markovic is that kind of player, he'll get into space on the break and just sprint towards the defenders. It seems obvious enough at times and you'd think that any player could do it but in truth they can't. Not in top flight football running at full sprint with defenders looking to close you down. Certainly he's not producing much more than simple dribbling but for me the key is how he does it so directly. What he misses is still in the final product but his willingness to have a go is what impressed me the most. That's kind of lacking so far in his Liverpool career which is whay Lawro is saying.

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  13. Not a fans of LM, not strong enough..........

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  14. O M jesus! Did Lawro manage to not talk sh1t for once? It's the end of days!

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  15. Markovic had a small purple patch but looks like he went back to earlier form. Is it coincidental that after getting that one opportunity to play in his more favoured position (or closer to it) after that good run that his form regressed once shifted back in to the wingback role? Perhaps hurt his confidence a touch? Hard to say. I am not too worried yet. For me all but Lovren have shown good form if at some points a bit patchy. I believe both Lallana and Markovic will improve next season. Neither have played for a team like Liverpool before and some players have a period where they need to get their heads around that.

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  16. Excellent flick to Lallana against City. There are others but unfortunately not loads.

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  17. Exactly. The signs are there they have just not been banging you in the face. I think we should be judging him next season.

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  18. Question is, if Ibe signed for Atletico or Dortmund say in the summer so then had to move to Spain or Germany and try to integrate with a team he doesn't speak the same language as, on top of moving into a new house, finding his way around a new country and culture and having the pressure of trying to justify his £20 million price tag during the opportunities he did get, would he be so confident and fearless? Maybe he would but only then would it really be a fair comparison.
    Jordan Ibe doesn't have any of those worries. He's been at Liverpool for years, he's best mates with Sterling, he's come through the academy so the fans automatically love him and there's no hefty price tag to justify. He'll be at training during the day, nip home to his mum's for tea and then round to Raheem's for a game of FIFA. Not a care in the world. Markovic's year in comparison has full of upheaval and new things. Give the lad a chance. I'm reserving judgement on Markovic til next season after a full season where he's learnt what is required to represent Liverpool and after a full pre-season which people underestimate the impact of.

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  19. Look more than judgement

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  20. Hahaha so he's played 30 games all he's done that made you think wow was 1 flick and a shot that hit the bar that he jumped to get

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  21. I no mate im not either I just haven't seen anything from him to make me think any different and I hope he proves me wrong I really do

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  22. He's still an adolescent. Strength will come

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  23. I watched him on YouTube when we were linked and wasn't particularly won over, I was quite impressed with how he fast he looked on the ball back in Portugal but since he's plYed for us I been nothing but disappointed with his pace. He's no slouch but far from exceptional

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  24. You just pulled a Tobias Funke with that "banging you in the face" bit.
    To paraphrase Michael: You should record yourself for a day. I think you'll be surprised by some of your phrasing.

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  25. At least he has been watching. You've apparently not seen anything even slightly impressive

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  26. Don't quote me on this but I think they get a trophy and qualify for the CL. Don't thank me just send money ;-)

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  27. He deserves a place in the team for his name alone.

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  28. I watched clips of him before we signed him and was very unimpressed, couldn't really see what all the fuss was about. This is not hindsight and I did voice my opinions at the time (maybe not on here though as I'm quite new to the site). I'm not going to start slating him constantly and say he's the worst player ever or should never be near a red shirt like some fans do with Johnson, Lovren or Lucas beforehand. I have my doubts but he has been highly rated by many 'so called experts'. He's got time on his side but unfortunately a large transfer fee reduces that 'potential' period. Maybe more signs will surface next season, he'll be that little bit older and that little more settled.

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  29. Hahahahaha ive been watching not missed a match so he's had an impressive flick here and a shot that hit the bar but flicks ain't going to make you a great player I think he's worked hard when he's been at wingback but we bought him for his attacking quality and there's been hardly anything from, him

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  30. When coutinho first got here he was potential and he showed what he was about with his passing and dribbling and his ability to beat players but he was far from consistant now he's becoming more consistant and proving to a class act. He showed he had talent from the beginning, Markovic has showed next to nothing consistently

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  31. I really like markovic, the guy reminds me of Ibrahimovic when with the ball at his feet , who said he doesn't commit defender? he always look like he's uninterested in finding a team mate, that's how he fools defenders.. Just like that priceless chip against city.

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  32. I'd guess that the other EL finalist gets the CL spot, but I don't know

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  33. I respect your opinion but I honestly think we haven't nearly seen the best of Markovic. For me the winger you described there to a tee was Andros Townsend. I honestly think Markovic has got more in his locker than that and over the next couple of seasons we'll see it. Time will tell I suppose

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  34. Obviously you finished reading my post early. There have been others. Pin poi t pass to Sturridge, releasing Henderson after beating two men on our left. The particulars are hazy and as I said there has not been enough of that sort of thing bit they are there for those who are not blinded to them.

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  35. Seeing more than judgment?

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  36. If we play a back 4 and use him purely as a winger then he won't be afraid of losing the ball. With a back 3 and him playing as a wing back his hesitancy is understandable.

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  37. I just reckon Ibe is a freak forget Sterling what a future this kid has.

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  38. There's pressure on everyone including Ibe. Do you think he's not under pressure to establish himself as a first team player? You say new culture, I can tell you this for free south London where Ibe is from is world's apart from Liverpool plus he's only a teenager. Ask mist & they'll tell you that Ibe is a much better player than Markovic. Ibe performed well on loan, new team, new system, new city same result good feedback. Ibe is quicker, stronger, more skillful & better football brain things you can't teach.

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  39. Your opinions are far too sensible mate.

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  40. Yep have to agree with you sir

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  41. Yep that's spot on. I saw Salah on loan at the moment and looks technically better.

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  42. I agree with you mate. You are not attacking him personally. You are giving and accurate assessment of the player. People make excuses for a player that cost 20m but technically he has not been great. Now I hope he proves me wrong but at this current moment he has not really done enough.

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  43. Couldn't of put it better... Well I could... But great points!

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  44. Spot on. Good assessment.


    He actually does have excellent control and feel for the game and I've seen him pull of some spectacular moves for Benfica and Partizan, and even a few this season. He has confidence in his ability; when he's no longer the newbie at the club and the country who can't speak Scouse his talent will naturally fit into the team.

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  45. Totally agree, Jock. I genuinely see huge skill in Markovic, the opposite of what Beast has described. Time will tell - or maybe it won't.

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  46. Hendo cost 20m. What did he do in his first season, or for that matter before the 5-0 demolition at White Hart Lane in his third? Price has got little to do with it, mate.

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  47. Yep; he was injured for the pre-season, the harm of which mustn't be underestimated.

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  48. Who's "most"? The people that voted for Markovic in last season's Europa League Best XI?

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  49. Yeah I have the same opinion of him. He already has that 'time on the ball' quality which only the really classy players ever develop.

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  50. Of course not everyone agrees, but I've seen enough people (including myself ) say that with Ibe's emergence from last season Markovic was never a priority signing. Especially when we needed a top striker. Add to the fact that this season he's largely been underwhelming in the most basic areas of footballing. Passing, shooting, decision making & dribbling. He's touch has been heavy, he doesn't have much skill regarding beating a player. In the premiership you need a bit more than just hitting the ball & running after it which is why I've likened him to a 400/800m runner & not a footballer. If you consider that Ibe in a short space of games has leapfrogged Markovic big time & deservedly so. Just by being the much better footballer. At the moment Markovic is a squad player which is the only positive, he's an extra body which has added depth in numbers but unfortunately not in quality.

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  51. Thanks bud.I take no pleasure in giving Markovic a failed grade so far but even his defenders have to admit he must do better.
    Lazar Markovic play for Liverpool football club.Pressure, high expectations and elite standards come with playing for this global powerhouse.
    I have never been one to make excuses or cling onto a little bit of magic.Like the superb golf chip pass or the acrobatic volley that smacked the crossbar.That's a fantastic but very short highlight reel.
    I don't have favourites.I support the collective/whole puzzle over single pieces.
    Echoing what you said, i want Lazar Markovic to up his game to the high levels we expect.However going by what we have seen, Markovic needs to make massive improvements.It's been done before.Hopefully he proves us and a few others wrong.

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  52. Moving from London to liverpool as a 15 year old and having 4 years to settle before going into the first team is hardly comparable with Markovic's situation

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  53. Someone has to try and maintain a bit of perspective...

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  54. I agree, I think Ibe has surprised everyone by just how good he is. All I'm saying is, his situation is different to that of Markovic. Like I said, I'm reserving judgement on Markovic until next season

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  55. Especially when joining up with a new team

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  56. He didn't do much until that point I agree. Does Hendo circumstance give Marcovic the same excuse? Maybe it does. But little chips and such does not equal a purple patch in my book. He needs to up his game. Salah has scored 6 goals in his last 8 games for example.

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  57. I whole heartedly agree just because he's young it does not make him immune from constructive criticism.

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  58. People are different so making direct comparisons is meaningless. Look at ibe's performance for the first time in Europe. Maturity personified. Purely on footballing ability Ibe wins everyday. No I hope Markovic improves but so far apart from being a willing runner there's not much else.

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  59. I'm not disputing that Ibe has been leaps and bounds ahead of Markovic in terms of performances, I'm just pointing out that Ibe has had the luxury of being able to concentrate solely on his football for years now. He's also been recalled from a loan so nobody was expecting too much and there's no big price tag to justify. Speaks the language, already has mates in the team... There's loads of reasons why there's less pressure on Ibe than there is Markovic this season. I'm not banging the Markovic drum per se, I'm just saying I can understand why it might take the lad time to settle. He's shown enough to show that he has ability, it's about producing that more consistently and that's what the coaches are paid to get out of the players. He's only 20 after all. Like I said, next season will be the real test of what Markovic is capable of

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  60. Not sure "the same excuse" is the correct phrase to use. Markovic's first season is better than Hendo's first season. That's all I'm saying.


    I'm not sure "purple patch" is entirely fair, either. That's not what I was saying. I'm arguing he has enough skill to make a good thing of his Liverpool career, and has shown this more than a few times already this season. If we're giving up on him already, then by that logic we should have let Hendo go to Fulham.


    Does he have room to improve? Of course. He's only 20 and he'll surely practice more and settle more into the team.

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  61. Markovic having a better first season than Hendo is debatable at best. I agree he has room to improve, but in saying that, there's only one direction for him to go anyway from his glimpses of quality. Sterling at a younger age displayed an infinite amount more at a younger age so has Ibe in a short space of time but Ibe is a far better player. Im not saying he's a poor player but I maintain he need to up his game.

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  62. And his price tag......

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  63. Ibe is still baby but have a good strength with him already, isnatural fitness that I'm taking about.........

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  64. If we're going to keep him we should remove his tags and get on with using and enjoying hi

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  65. Well, at this point we can only agree to disagree about the qualities we see in Markovic. However, we can agree that words like "most" should be backed up with some sort of evidence :-)

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  66. Ibe is an exceptionally big guy for his age, people develop at different rates. He's quick and he doesn't seem to have any endurance issues. Strength is one of the easier issues to address, especially at the age Markovic is at

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