Liverpool today signed Lazar Markovic from Benfica on a long-term deal - and here are eight fascinating things you need to know about our new 20-year-old forward.

Lazar becomes the second Serbian player to represent Liverpool, following in the footsteps of compatriot Milan Jovanovic. The latter joined the Reds in the summer of 2010 and spent a single season at Anfield, racking up 18 appearances and finding the target twice - against Northampton Town and Steaua Bucharest. When Markovic made his senior international debut for Serbia, in a February 2012 friendly victory over Armenia, it was Jovanovic who replaced his younger teammate after 69 minutes of the encounter.

Markovic is the first player in history to transfer from Portuguese giants Benfica to Anfield. However, there have been two pieces of previous business between the clubs, both involving Reds departing to Lisbon. Michael Thomas joined the traditional European contenders on a free in August 1998 and remained there for two years. Defender Steve Harkness, meanwhile, was sold to the Iberian outfit in March 1999, although his stay was rather shorter - less than six months, in fact. Both men were signed for Benfica by former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness.

The 20-year-old arrives on Merseyside having been crowned a league champion in each of the past three seasons. His title trophy streak started at the conclusion of his first full campaign with Partizan Belgrade, when they finished 12 points clear, and the Serbian giants successfully retained their position in 2012-13. And the silverware simply kept coming for the attacker following his switch to the Estadio da Luz - Benfica outdid Sporting CP last season to take the Portuguese championship, with Markovic missing just four matches.


On the day that Markovic celebrated his ninth birthday, March 2, 2003, Kopites were also in party mood. For they had just watched Gerard Houllier's Reds beat rivals Manchester United 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium to scoop the League Cup for the second time in three years. Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen were the goalscorers in Cardiff. Lazar is the youngest player to sign for Liverpool so far this summer, with Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert all older than their new teammate.

A spot of research sheds major light on the likely number that the versatile forward will select when it comes to choosing his Liverpool shirt. Markovic wore the unusual No.50 on his maiden run-out for Partizan Belgrade in May 2011 and kept the number throughout his two full campaigns at the Serbian outfit. When he joined Benfica in the summer of 2013, he opted for the half-century to adorn his back once again. So don't be surprised if Lazar asks for the same number, although Academy midfielder Cameron Brannagan was the incumbent last season.

Joe Allen will perhaps know more about Markovic than most inside the Liverpool dressing room; although the midfielder was not playing due to injury, he will have been watching closely when Wales hosted Lazar and Serbia in a World Cup qualifier in September 2013. The travellers were handsome 3-0 winners at the Cardiff City Stadium, with the Reds' new boy on target with the final strike of the encounter, firing low underneath Boaz Myhill on 55 minutes for his second international effort.

Markovic was a penalty shootout away from winning four trophies in 2013-14 with Benfica. They lost just twice in winning the Portuguese league by seven points from Sporting, while Rio Ave were defeated in both the Portuguese Cup and League Cup finals within 12 days in May. Between those domestic showpiece fixtures was the Europa League final, their second consecutive appearance in that match. With the wide-man suspended, though, Jorge Jesus' team suffered disappointment again, losing to Sevilla on spot-kicks in Turin.

The Serbian is the 19th first-team player Brendan Rodgers has signed since taking the managerial reins in June 2012, with each and every one captured from within Europe. It is not the first time the Northern Irishman has utilised scouts in Portugal, however - promising centre-back Tiago Ilori was brought to Anfield from Sporting CP last September. Markovic has previously shared a pitch with Philippe Coutinho, although on opposing sides; the creative duo were in competition when Inter Milan hosted Partizan in an October 2012 Europa League clash.