I think all Liverpool FC fans love Daniel Agger. He has been a very good servant to the club over the years. Liverpool Fans like to see a ball playing centre back and there are not many, if any, better centre backs on the ball than Agger in Europe. He has also shown he can be a top class centre back defensively, partnering Jamie Carragher in the Champions League Final in 2007, showing he can play at the highest level.
But it isn’t only what Agger has done on the pitch for LFC, why the fans have some much time for him. Agger has been very loyal to LFC over the years, not interested in leaving despite the team regressing and losing their best players (Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres etc). He has been heavily linked with moves to Manchester City and Barcelona, the last few years but he has not pushed for a move and actually got YNWA tattooed on his fingers, showing how loyal he was to the LFC cause.
There is also little things such as elbowing Torres in the face just after he left for Chelsea, which obviously endears a player to the supporters. If you add all that up together, you can see why Agger is so popular with the fans.
Many of these fans thought Agger used to only have one question mark – and that was his ability to stay fit, as he was often on the treatment table and playing nowhere near enough games each season. Between 2006/7 and 2010/11, Agger was averaging 17 Premiership games a season. Jamie Redknapp, Fabio Aurelio and Harry Kewell would all be proud of that record.
However in 2011/12 under the legend that is Kenny Dalglish, Agger managed 27 league games. Also since Brendan Rodgers has come to the club Agger has been put on a personal fitness programme and it seems to have made a difference as he was a regular last season, playing 35 games in the league. Now it should be noted that Agger only played four games in the Europa League and maybe not playing games every three days has helped his fitness as well. But none the less Rodgers seems to have made a difference in keeping Agger fit. So the fitness question mark with Agger seems to have been answered.
Rodgers should love Agger, as he is so comfortable in possession. But centre backs need to mainly be judged on their abilities to defend and being good in possession is a bonus. As there is no point being good on the ball if you are a liability defensively and costing the teams goals.
That is why Agger needs to improve, as since Rodgers has joined the club he has not been on top of his game defensively and has cost us too many goals:
Last Season Mistakes:
– Sent off vs West Brom (a) and partly at fault for one of their goals, missing a tackle.
– At fault for a goal vs Stoke (a), where he struggled with Kenwyne Jones.
– Van Persie goal vs United (a).
– Giroud goal vs Arsenal (a), losing him at a set play.
– At fault for both goals at home to West Brom
– Giving a penalty away against Stoke (h), which thankfully Mignolet saved.
– Losing Lovren for the Southampton goal at home.
Those are all clear mistakes which have cost the team and there were other occasions where he was partly at fault for some of the goals we conceded, which could have been mentioned. That’s around ten mistakes in a season and a half, which is far too many for a player as rated as highly as Agger.
Agger now has two new question marks now days and one of them isn’t fitness:
1) He can be bullied against the more physical strikers
2) His marking at set plays.
The mistakes above show he is vulnerable in these two areas of his game. He was questioned in the past about whether he could deal with the more physical players and he answered those critics with his performance in the second leg in the Champions League Semi Final against Drogba, so we know he can do it and we all know he can mark at set plays.
However since Rodgers has been at the club Agger has not been at his best. There is lots of competition for places at centre back and Agger always been talked up and praised by Rodgers. He was also shown a big sign of confidence from the manager when he was recalled against Fulham, instead of Sakho who was arguably the best player against Arsenal and was harshly dropped. It is now up to Agger to thank and repay Rodgers for this trust by rewarding him by performances.
Unless he can solve the two question marks above and he continues to be making too many costly mistakes, then unfortunately as much as Liverpool fans love Agger, he will have to lose his place to one of the other three centre backs.
Against Everton Agger has the perfect chance to prove he can deal against a physical player such as Lukaku. Now is the time to deliver Daniel and repay the manager and fans who have been extremely loyal and supportive to you despite a patchy last season and a half.
At his best he’s a brilliant player, but we have not seen that enough and with the competition in the squad in that area of the pitch unless he’s at his best, he shouldn’t be starting. He’s still the best centre back in possession, of that there is no doubt. But is he the best defensively? That’s where he has to up his game and prove that he is, as the form of the last season and a half would make that question very much up for debate.
It’s up to you Daniel!