Lazar Markovic ban blow for Reds

Lazar Markovic Liverpool v Basel Champions League

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Liverpool have been hit by the news midfielder Lazar Markovic will have to serve a four-match European suspension following his red card against FC Basel in December.

The 20-year-old Serbia international was sent off on 61 minutes after match referee Bjorn Kuipers deemed that he lashed out with his arm into the face of Basel’s Behrang Safari during the 1-1 Champions League Group B draw at Anfield on December 9.

Markovic, who has scored three goals in 27 matches so far this season, had only been on the pitch for 16 minutes after coming off the bench at half-time to replace striker Rickie Lambert and Liverpool felt the decision was harsh.

But UEFA have decided it was violent conduct and hit the player with a four-game ban.

Despite being down to 10 men Brendan Rodgers’ side managed to battle back from a goal down to secure a draw against Basel thanks to Steven Gerrard’s late free-kick, but it was not enough to keep them in the Champions League.

Instead the Merseysiders finished third in their group and drop into the Europa League with Markovic banned for their two-legged last-32 clash with Besiktas as well as their next two matches in Europe.

Liverpool host the Turkish side in the first leg on Thursday and are 1.57 to win the game, while Besiktas can be backed at 5.76 and the draw is 3.71.

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