Liverpool look at Chelsea target Lazar Markovic to bolster wide options
Liverpool, 15/8 to top the Premier League come the end of the season, are looking to snatch Benfica and Serbia winger Lazar Markovic from under Chelsea’s noses.
The Blues, who are 7/1 shots to lift the title, have beaten Brendan Rodgers’ Reds to targets in the last two transfer windows. Both Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian and Egypt winger Mohamed Salah chose moves to Stamford Bridge over joining the Anfield outfit.
Rodgers is now ready to give Jose Mourinho a dose of his own medicine over 20-year-old Markovic, who is rated at £20m by his current club, according to the tabloids.
Capped 10 times by Serbia and scoring twice for his country, he won the Portuguese top-flight’s Player of the Month award for both January and February.
A right footer comfortable down either flank, Markovic has netted seven times in 38 club appearances in all competitions for domestic league leaders Benfica this term so far.
Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho apart, Liverpool’s other wide options have failed to make much of an impression. As a result, Rodgers has switched to playing a midfield diamond in recent matches.
On-loan Chelsea winger Victor Moses has largely been reduced to a substitute role, while Spanish pair Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas have flopped.
The Blues’ interest in Markovic is understood to have arisen when scouts were sent to watch Nemanja Matic, who returned to the Bridge in January for a reported £20m. He has slotted into a deep-lying midfield berth well with Chelsea, so they are hoping to go to the Benfica well once again with his compatriot.
Potentially signing another genuine wideman may be an indication that Mourinho is preparing to change tack tactically. Blues star Eden Hazard has been linked with a summer switch to PSG, however, as the club try to balance their books ahead of stricter Financial Fair Play sanctions.
Chelsea must try to overturn a 3-1 deficit in their Champions League quarter-final with PSG next. They are 3/1 shots to qualify from the tie for the semis.