Liverpool complete £20m signing of Lazar Markovic from Benfica
Published 15/07/2014 | 18:08
Liverpool have announced the signing of Benfica forward Lazar Markovic on a long-term deal for deal believed to be worth in the region of £20m.
Markovic clocked up 49 appearances during the 2013-14 campaign and contributed seven goals as Benfica sealed a domestic treble and reached the Europa League final.
He becomes Brendan Rodgers' fourth signing of the summer to date, following the confirmation of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Emre Can as new players for next season.
After completing a medical and the formalities of his switch at Melwood, the 20-year-old told Liverpoolfc.com: "I am very happy that I have joined such a great club.
"I hope that I will fulfil the expectations of the supporters, coaches, players and all connected to the club. I have seen what the players are like, I have seen what the supporters are like, and I cannot wait to start playing here."
Here is a full transcript of his first Liverpool interview:
Lazar, welcome to Liverpool Football Club. How do you feel to have signed for this club?
I am very happy that I have joined such a great club. I hope that I will fulfil the expectations of the supporters, coaches, players and all connected to the club.
What was your reaction when you found out Liverpool were interested in you?
I was delighted and increased my efforts in playing and training at the prospect of joining such a great club.
What was the biggest surprise in joining Liverpool?
Being asked to join! It is a surprise being here.
How exciting is the prospect of now getting the opportunity to play in the Premier League?
The Premier League is the strongest league in the world, and so I am very happy to be here.
And the Champions League, too. You must be looking forward to experiencing that?
I have already played in the Champions League with Benfica. It is superb that Liverpool are in it and I hope we will go far next season.
Have you had a chance to catch up with the manager, Brendan Rodgers? What has he said to you?
Nothing special. He told me what position I will be playing in the team and I am here to fulfil his expectations.
We know you can play in a few positions, but which would be your preference?
I do not mind. The left side is preferable, but I will play wherever I am asked.
What do you think you can offer Liverpool?
It is not my place to say, really, but hopefully my contribution on the pitch will show.
Liverpool had an excellent campaign last year, finishing second. Did you follow it from Portugal?
I watched every game and they played absolutely superb. It is a shame they did not win the title - but I hope we will win it this season.
Which players are you most excited to play alongside?
I could not favour any one of them. They are all equally good...but maybe the captain, Gerrard, as he is the team's leader.
You spent one season with Benfica, how important was that for you?
It was very important because if it wasn't for Benfica, I probably wouldn't be here. This is my opportunity to say thank you to all the players, president and all involved at the club.
You've won the league title in each of your four seasons as a professional. Which of those gave you the most experience and the basis to get here now to Liverpool?
There isn't one in particular, really. All were hard work and I benefited from each of them - and all of which have resulted in me being here today.
You have never played at Anfield before, how excited are you about the prospect of that?
I have seen what the players are like, I have seen what the supporters are like, and now I cannot wait to start playing there.
Have you spoken to your international teammates Matija Nastasic and Nemanja Matic, who play for Manchester City and Chelsea respectively, about playing in the Premier League?
I spoke to them both a couple of days ago and they are very happy that I am here, and I am looking forward to playing against them.
Finally, what would your message to Liverpool fans be?
I went to Partizan and won the title. I went to Benfica and won the title. Now I have joined Liverpool and want to win the title, 100 per cent.