Lazar Markovic
Lazar Marković is set to spend the rest of the 2015/16 campaign on loan at Fenerbahce Getty

Liverpool midfielder Lazar Marković's impending loan switch is a sign that he simply has not performed well enough since arriving at Anfield, that is according to former Anfield stalwart Mark Lawrenson.

Marković, 21, moved to Merseyside from Benfica in a £20m ($30.7m) deal last summer as part of Brendan Rodgers' ill-advised spending spree that was financed by the bumper windfall received from Luis Suarez's sale to Barcelona. However, he made just 11 starts during his first season in the Premier League and struggled to justify the faith shown in his potential.

Those struggles have led to talk over a temporary move away from Liverpool, with BBC Sport reporting on 28 August that the Serbian international was set to spend the rest of the campaign with Super Lig title hopefuls Fenerbahce.

Despite the club expecting Marković to return following that upcoming stint in Istanbul and Rodgers confirming in a press conference last week that the player does indeed have a future in his first-team squad, Lawrenson appears to believe such an exit sends a clear message to other underperforming players.

In his latest column for the Liverpool Echo, he wrote: "Lazar Marković is likely to go to Fenerbahçe in Turkey on loan for the whole season. I'm afraid it's a sign they think the £20m signing has just not cut the mustard. It's not as if they're thinking of sending him over there until January to get some game time and bringing him back.

"They are clearing people out at the club and that is a good thing. It sends a message to all the other players going forward. He's flattered to deceive since he arrived at Anfield."

Super Mario mystery

While Marković's move to Fenerbahce is yet to be officially signed off, one player who has left Liverpool over recent days is Mario Balotelli. The controversial Italian scored just four goals in all competitions during his first spell back in the Premier League since departing Manchester City in January 2013 and has now returned to former club AC Milan on a season-long loan deal.

Rodgers originally described the 25-year-old's £16m arrival as a "calculated risk", but Lawrenson believes his exit represents another positive move given his lack of impact and tendency to deflect attention away from more deserving teammates.

"No-one has any idea what is going on with 'Super Mario'," he added. "In training, in attitude, it's always about him. The thing is there's going to be another manager who will one day get him and think he's going to turn him into a player. The good thing is he's now out of the club and we can get on with our lives."

Balotelli was an unused substitute for Milan this weekend as Siniša Mihajlović's side recorded a 2-1 victory over Empoli at the San Siro, while Liverpool's unbeaten start to the 2015/16 season was emphatically ended by an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at home to West Ham.

Debutant Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble and Diafra Sakho were all on target for the visitors and Rodgers will now be without Philippe Coutinho for the trip to fierce rivals Manchester United on 12 September after he was dismissed for two yellow card offences.